Despite the EU experiencing economic growth and low unemployment in the last decade, in-work poverty has steadily increased. Since 2008, social inequalities have become a more prominent problem as wages have fallen and employment has become less stable.
In fact, between 2010 and 2017, the number of citizens affected by in-work poverty increased from 8.3% o 9.4%, which is partly blamed on the so-called “gig economy”.
People have been calling for better rights for gig-economy workers for some time. Now, MEPs are campaigning for their rights to be strengthened. On Wednesday, they voted in favor of creating equal labor conditions for European gig-economy workers.
The rights these workers have varies between different EU countries. In some places, the rules fail to provide platform workers with the basic rights that other workers are entitled to, such as the minimum wage and statutory sick pay.
Lawmakers in the EU now want the European Commission to address this issue and make a proposal to strengthen their rights within the workforce and tackle poverty.
MEP Özlem Demirel, who led the report, said, “They are called self-employed, and things like that and they have worse working conditions. They don’t have good wages. They have no job security. For me, it is important that a framework is given and that they are seen as workers and that they can unite in trade unions and fight for collective agreements and for better wages.”
The Commission will now make a decision on whether to make proposals to improve the rights of gig-economy workers. In addition to this, it plans to make other changes aimed at dealing with in-work poverty, like a new directive on a suitable minimum wage.
At the moment, it’s estimated that 19 million Europeans are living in poverty, which is something the EU wants to reduce in the coming years significantly.
Going forward, MEPs say they want to focus on ensuring the minimum wage is always above the poverty threshold and that gig-economy workers are covered by this legislation.
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