MEP Alex Agius Saliba protecting the rights of Uber drivers

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January, 2023 at 2:36 pm by Andre Camilleri

The shocking revelations of the Uber practices are a reminder that we urgently need to give platform workers the social protection and working conditions they deserve. This was the message delivered by MEP Alex Agius Saliba during the European Parliament’s Plenary session in Strasbourg.

On Wednesday afternoon the European Parliament debated the recent revelations concerning Uber’s lobbying practices in the EU, the situation of Uber drivers in Europe, and the extent to which Uber’s lobbying activities have affected their labour and social rights.

In his speech, MEP Alex Agius Saliba defended platform workers and called to correct the imbalances created by the platform economy and said that the platform economy must uphold the application of our labour law and labour rights.

The Labour MEP also questioned the morality and legality of the lobbying practices engaged by Uber and insisted that a sound framework for transparency in lobbying is crucial to safeguard the integrity of the public decision-making process.

“It is morally wrong and undemocratic when a company like Uber prefers to spend millions of euros on lobbying politicians to gain a market advantage or to block legislation that aims to ensure bare minimum protection for its workers, decent pay and health insurance, while at the same time completely disregarding their drivers’ working conditions and wellbeing,” said MEP Agius Saliba in his speech.

Agius Saliba stated that platforms like Uber did not invent new forms of employment, but rather, they have simply found new ways to avoid the costs and responsibilities they should have as employers. He said that this is why the European Union needs a strong Directive for improving working conditions in platform work that protects the rights of platform workers irrespective of their type of employment or where they are located in the Union.

He added: “It is not normal that a company consciously takes decisions, instead of investing in providing decent working conditions and wellbeing of its people, to spend millions of euros and engage in immoral practices so it can avoid any responsibility, and undermine social and employment standards, thus giving rise to precarious forms of employment, labour exploitation, and tax fraud at the expense of the powerless workers.”

In his concluding remarks, S&D MEP Alex Agius Saliba said that people need good jobs with fair and decent pay and conditions, noting that with the right legislation, it is possible to do this also in the platform economy.

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