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Canada Heil says the fight against cheap wages in digital platforms

06:50  27 november  2020
06:50  27 november  2020 Source:   pressfrom.com

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Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to put a stop to cheap wages in food delivery services and other booming digital platforms.

Arbeitsminister Hubertus Heil will gegen Billiglöhne in der Plattformökonomie angehen. © Kay Nietfeld / dpa Labor Minister Hubertus Heil wants to tackle low wages in the platform economy.

"I will not allow digitization to be confused with exploitation in the platform economy," said Heil of the dpa in Berlin. According to the key points of the Ministry of Labor, which are available to the dpa, self-employed platform workers should also enjoy social protection and appropriate working conditions in the future.

Affected are not only food suppliers, but also transport and household services, but also platforms for text work, programming and creative activities. According to an EU survey, 2.7 million people in Germany either derive at least half of their income from platform work or work in this way for at least ten hours a week, as the ministry writes. Other studies would come to lower numbers.

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"Platforms strive for market dominance," said Heil. "We are now also experiencing this in the pandemic." In the case of food delivery services, for example, there is now primarily one relevant provider. The complaints of restaurateurs about their dependence on the Lieferando ordering platform are well known. According to an ARD report, employees also complain that the establishment of works councils is made more difficult.

Heil said that market dominance means that “prices and conditions can be dictated unilaterally to suppliers and restaurants”. A framework for fair competition is necessary. "I want to further develop the culture of the social market economy in the platform economy."

The Ministry of Labor proposes the following cornerstones, among others:

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SOCIAL PROTECTION: Solo self-employed platform workers should be included in the statutory pension insurance. The platform operator should pay for it. Contributions from the platforms for health insurance should also be checked. In the case of food suppliers or bicycle couriers, for example, it should also be checked whether operators have to pay accident insurance contributions.

BURDEN OF EVIDENCE FOR SELF-EMPLOYMENT: If a platform worker provides evidence of the existence of an employment relationship, the operator must prove the opposite in the event of a disagreement.

ORGANIZATION OF PLATFORM ACTIVITIES: The Ministry wants to enable collective-legal organization for self-employed platform workers. They should be able to negotiate working conditions on an equal footing.

FURTHER RULES: Minimum notice periods should be stipulated depending on the duration of the activity. Continued payment of wages in the event of illness and rules on maternity protection and vacation are also sought. Self-employed people should no longer have to accept contractual conditions that are at their expense.

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“Digital platforms make life easier,” said Heil. "New job opportunities arise." But he wants to strengthen the back of employees who work on and for platforms - regardless of whether they are employed or self-employed. "Platform employees must have the opportunity to effectively represent their interests and, for example, to make collective agreements." He wanted a fair balance between producers, consumers and employees.

According to Heil, the topic is also on the agenda at the government's digital summit on Monday and Tuesday. "There are platforms in which I by no means have the impression that precarious work predominates," said Heil. For example with the craft platforms. But fair conditions are generally necessary. "Platforms must not compete with one another with the lowest wages and the worst protection."

Heil recalled that Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) is also planning an amendment to competition law. “There is only a market economy if there is competition. Wherever monopolies arise, the market economy comes to nothing, ”said Heil. "It is not only important that the laws are amended, but that the cartel authorities also take a look."

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