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Regulating platform work: How will this impact migrant workers?

Social Protection / DISCUSSION PAPER
Tommaso Grossi , Andreina De Leo

Date: 22/05/2023
Migrant workers in the platform labour market are vulnerable to double exploitation. First, as platform workers, they cannot enjoy the protections that employment law provides. Second, they can be subject to exploitation due to their migration and residence status, especially if undocumented.

This Discussion Paper analyses the impact of the European Commission’s proposed Directive on improving the working conditions and rights of platform migrant workers. The proposed Directive's positive impact will likely be restricted by migrant employees' bargaining strength and non-EU platform workers' well-founded fears of reprisal. Therefore, targeted improvements to the proposed framework are needed to remove the structural barriers faced by migrant workers when accessing the labour market.

This Paper offers six recommendations on how to move forward:

  1. Strike the right balance between retaining flexibility for genuine self-employed platform workers and enhancing protection through reclassification.
  2. Guarantee transparency and ensure non-discrimination in algorithmic management.
  3. Introduce effective measures against the risk of subcontracting and ensure the liability of subcontracting chains.
  4. Facilitate the involvement of civil society organisations with specific expertise on migrants’ rights as well as trade unions involved in defending the rights of platform workers to enhance the enforcement of rights and protections.
  5. Put in place binding measures to establish ‘firewalls’ for platform migrant workers who lodge complaints in the context of inspections by the labour authorities.
  6. Promote better access to the labour market for migrant workers and consider regularisation channels for undocumented migrants as the most effective way to prevent or fight exploitation.

Read the full paper here.
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