What's happening with platform workers' rights? Lessons from Belgium

The partnership between delivery platform Deliveroo and workers' cooperative SMart has been terminated, sparking new debate over workers' rights in the platform economy
Employee protection Labour market Economics Gig economy Work insecurity Trade unions Working conditions Cooperatives Belgium

Platform work, one of the new forms of employment to have recently emerged in the EU, has already become the subject of heated debate. Beyond its effects on traditional occupations and the labour market more generally, many have raised concerns about the working and employment conditions of platform work. On the one hand, the platform economy promises workers many opportunities.

At the same time, platform work has suffered a barrage of criticism from many fronts–established industries, trade unions, governments and academia. Unions, in particular, have criticised platform work as an especially precarious form of employment. Without a doubt, several questions have yet to be satisfactorily answered. Are workers adequately compensated for their time, and do they have sufficient work to make a decent living from their platform activities? Are workers insured for on-the-job injury, sickness and unemployment, and do their activities contribute to their pensions? And broadly speaking, are platforms benefiting from flexibility at the expense of worker security? The uncertainties are numerous, yet governments are hesitant to impose regulations and potentially stymie growth and innovation in a new branch of the economy.

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