Following the success of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, the Austrian government has now taken over. As highlighted during the Informal EPSCO on 19 and 20 July, one of the main focuses of this 6-month presidency will be on digitalisation, and how to secure prosperity and competitiveness.
Digitalisation is fundamentally re-shaping CEEP members’ daily operations, both as employers and as services’ providers throughout Europe. Indeed, 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.
Those new forms of work are calling for a reflection on the shape of the employer-employee relationships: we now have new determinants of subordination such as imposed rating systems, price setting competence or control mechanism, which should be used to establish the exact status of a worker, including platform workers.
Above all, we call for respecting the principle of subsidiarity when it comes to defining employment relationships. Each Member State must define the employment relationship according to their specific legal contexts and to the different branches of law. We fear that leaving the definition to the EU would hamper the necessary flexibility to adapt to future developments of the labour market. Social partners, in cooperation with Member States’ authorities, should lead the way to foster this adaptation of national law to new circumstances.
As a multifaceted phenomenon, the digitalisation process is calling for a societal change, including the development of infrastructures and the setting-up of new legislative frameworks, to accompany the shift towards a data-based economy. For providers of public services, who are now more often than not facing competition in their sectors, the proposed review of the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive is of prime importance. Together with our members, we are mobilized to ensure the safeguard of a level-playing field for all operators. You can consult our key messages here.
This topic will remain a central one, and at the top of the agenda at least until the European elections in May 2019. CEEP will make sure the priorities and concerns of providers of public services are well understood at EU level – starting with the work of the European Parliament on the PSI Directive, which is expected to pick up very quickly after the summer recess.
In the meanwhile, I wish you a good reading, and a relaxing summer break: our newsflash will come back in the first week of September.