ITF Youth Summer School Statement
We are young transport workers and platform workers from 6 countries coming together in Sheffield for ITF summer school 2022, which is the site of the longest strike in the history of platform workers. We want to express our solidarity with our comrades from countries in the global south who could not be with us because of the racist and exclusionary UK migration and visa system. Through our discussions over the last 4 days of the summer school, we collectively identified and agreed on the following priorities and urge our unions and ITF to work with us to build platform workers’ power.
As young transport workers we commit to:
- Organising and campaigning in the platform economy
- Actively engage in regional and global networks of platform workers
- Advocate for decent work for all platform workers
- Engage and use ITF and ETF research and policy regulating the platform economy
ITF unions should work to organise platform workers, recognising that many of our unions have their origins in the struggle against informality and precarity.
We know that platform workers have their own organisations and social networks, and to effectively work with platform workers, we need to talk to these groups, build alliances with them, to enable us to properly advocate for them, and perhaps eventually affiliate them.
ITF affiliates should build on the experiences of those unions that have successfully organised platform workers, and from those who have successfully fought for progressive regulation of the sector.
The platform sector is clearly very diverse across the world, and to properly represent these workers ITF should work with these organisations at an institutional level, by bringing together platform workers from across the world to create regional and global networks.
ITF should support the development of regional and global networks providing organising and campaigning skills, sharing good practices, promoting the work of local and national unions representing platform workers, coordinating solidarity for local and national campaigns providing international visibility, support capacity building of newly established unions or platform workers’ groups.
ITF should continue to work alongside the ETF to ensure the EU Platforms Directive contains a presumption of employment and to agitate for stronger enforcement mechanisms at national and regional levels. We consider similar legal regulations and instruments, or safe rates, to be a solution to the problems facing the sector in other jurisdictions, as long as they are accompanied by proper enforcement mechanisms. ITF Youth Summer School 2022
POSITION ON THE PLATFORM ECONOMY
The following position on the platform economy is based upon the ITF principles on decent work and new technology which consist of the following:
- The principle of worker centred co-design
- The principle of tripartism and collective bargaining
- The principle of mitigation, compensation and retention
- The principle of human control and humane management
- The principle of transparency
- The principle of fair competition
- The principle of environmental sustainability
Which together enable the delivery of:
- Safe and decently paid work
- Non-discriminatory work
- Social protections, training, and social good for all
The platform economy (also known as the ‘gig economy’ or the ‘app economy) suffers from many serious inter-related problems as outlined in the Global Union Demands on the Platform Economy. At root these stem from:
- the avoidance of employment responsibilities by the platforms, and
- the ways in which algorithmic management is used to supervise, control and incentivise work in the sector.
We, the young transport workers of the ITF, believe that three of the largest sub-sectors of the on-location platform economy fulfil transport and transport-related activities of people and goods. While ride-hail and on-demand provision of passenger transport are obviously transport activities, food delivery and the delivery of goods are also forms of transportation even though they intersect with hospitality and retail. Some platforms offer a mix of all three services. This makes ITF the logical trade union ‘home’ for these workers.
As young transport workers, many of whom are platform workers, we believe that the following measures are needed to enable our fellow workers in the platform economy to fully enjoy their rights to safe and decent work:
1 – Presumption of employment
Governments should legislate a presumption of employment and the platforms must recognise that their workers are employees, unless they can prove otherwise.
This keystone demand will enable the enjoyment of the rights all workers should enjoy as outlined in the ILO Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work, including the right to collective bargaining and occupational safety and health, and the right to social protection.
2 – Algorithmic transparency - Union access to the data, criteria, and algorithms of the app.
Unions cannot negotiate in the platform sector unless they can see and understand what data and criteria are used to supervise and control workers. Workers deserve to know and understand how their work is judged and governed. ITF Youth Summer School 2022
3 – OSH, labour rights and discrimination risk and impact assessments leading to certification of apps.
The apps must be tested along decent work criteria, including the presence of grievance and appeal mechanisms, and be certified for use in the economy if we are to prevent a ‘race to the bottom’.
4 – Labour inspectorates with the power to sustain decent working conditions.
Labour inspectorates should be equipped to carry out risk and labour impact assessments, and empowered to issue fines and block platforms abusing decent work criteria.
5 – Platforms should be categorised according to sector, should pay corporate taxes, and obey local labour regulations and other laws.
6 – Platforms should not wait for regulation to decide for them, they should commit to:
- paying living wages
- providing sick pay and other social protections
- providing a human point of contact and grievance and appeal mechanisms
- provide training and safety equipment, including specific measures for women workers
- negotiate with unions and workers’ associations and providing avenues for workers to discuss issues