At the informal ESPCO in Vienna, Walter Marschitz, CEO of SWOE (Sozialwirtschaft Österreich) representing VÖEWG (Verband der öffentlichen Wirtschaft und Gemeinwirtschaft Österreichs), and Valeria Ronzitti, General Secretary of CEEP, addressed the challenges and opportunities of digitalized labour markets.

Identifying pressing challenges, CEEP highlighted:

On the digitalisation of public services: “Public services’ employers are also affected by new forms of work. Employee sharing, ICT-based mobile and voucher-based works are already employment forms in public services, whilst platform work and gig jobs are emerging.”

On the new forms of employer-employee relationships: “Questions on the status of workers and social protection are arising. We face today new determinants of subordination such as imposed rating systems, price setting competence or control mechanism. These elements should be used to establish the exact status of a platform worker.”

On the importance of subsidiarity: “Each Member State must define the employment relationship according to their specific legal contexts and to the different branches of law. Leaving the definitions for the EU-level would hamper the necessary flexibility to adapt to future developments of the labour market. It is for the social partners, in cooperation with Member States authorities, to foster this adaptation of national law to new circumstances.”

Focussing on solutions, CEEP presented to ministers some key elements to better define the employment relationship in a digitalised world:

  • Extending employee status to all platform workers and bogus self-employed;
  • Approximating the status of platforms to that of temporary work agencies;
  • Automatically extending collective agreements to wider categories of workers than “employee”, with a view to including platform workers;
  • Creating protective regulations on self-employment to protect workers.

Above all, social dialogue must remain the central element. Social partners’ activities on cross-sectoral and sectoral level need to be further promoted. Social partners are key in preparing the digital transformation of labour markets and should be further empowered at European, national, regional and local levels.

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