On 23 February, the ETUC organised a workshop on digitisation for its members at national level and the European industry federations including the EFJ. Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary explained the challenges and methods regarding the recognition of employment relationship for digital workers and the different definitions of worker and employee throughout the European Union. She asked whether the ETUC should advocate for a Directive for online platform workers.
While online work in the medical sector for example is heavily regulated, most other sectors lack complete regulation.
Lynch said when it comes to freelance journalists it may be more useful to develop a set of rights, see EFJ Freelance Charter, to which they should be entitled. This would be a way to circumvent competition authorities, and likewise allow equal treatment for categories, which are not clearly identifiable as employees but absolutely belonging to the trade union family. She admitted that freelances are covered by the definition of worker according to ILO standards.
Thiebaut Weber, ETUC Confederal Secretary discussed an ETUC strategy about digital skills including media literacy, health and safety skills etc. in a lifelong learning framework. It is however not clear what kind of digital skills are needed for workers, but the need to invest in all workers’ digital skills is a must , he said.
Peter Scherrer, Deputy ETUC General Secretary said: It is time to have a strategic discussion within the ETUC about these issues.
The workshop, which is part of a series of workshops on the issue has the support of the European Commission.