On Tuesday, 9 March 2021, the EU Commission presented its Communication for a digitally empowered Europe. It shall ring in a digital decade and help to implement the EU’s digital agenda targets by 2030.
With the Digital Service Act (DSA) the European Commission aims to foster innovation and competition, to rebalance responsibilities of users, platforms and public authorities and to better protect consumers and their fundamental rights online.
The Data Governance Act is an extremely sensitive project in terms of fundamental rights: This draft will allow the data economy to access protected data, although compliance with a few requirements is stipulated. According to the Austrian Chamber of Labour, consumers, patients and citizens will not be able to trust data transfer readily. While the promotion of innovative data management is very clearly formulated, the accompanying provisions that protect the rights of data subjects are unjustifiably vague.
The Covid-19 crisis not only rendered visible the great importance of the platform economy for the supply of everyday goods. It also revealed the disadvantages of this hyper-flexible form of intermediation and employment, often combined with a precarious working situation. However, given the urgency of a just and fair regulation of platform workers’ working conditions, it has now become abundantly clear – the time is ripe for a Directive on platform work.
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the spotlight on the social significance and economic potential of the platform economy, but it has also highlighted the disadvantages of this hyper-flexible form of intermediation and employment. Despite their promises of autonomy, platform-based modes of organising labour reinforce social inequalities, gender segregation and economic dependencies. They may also lead to precarious working conditions where it is difficult to enforce existing protections under employment and social law.
On 15 December 2020, the Commission presented its Proposal on a Digital Markets Act. It is, above all, to include rules for particularly powerful and influential Internet platforms – so-called gatekeepers. The Austrian Chamber of Labour welcomes the Proposal; however, it demands urgent improvements.
The Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK) considers the proposed Regulation on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) published on 15 December 2020 to be a good basis for discussion, but there are several points that require adaptation. A revision of the proposal is necessary, for example, with regard to the foreseen obligations and provisions that apply to so-called “gatekeeper platforms”. These, in principal, represent an important step towards creating a level playing field and they are also welcomed from the consumer’s viewpoint.
In the future, the right to disconnect shall reduce the negative aspects of telework and working from the home. On 21 January 2021, the European Parliament approved a corresponding report of the Employment Committee.
On 15 December 2020, the EU Commission presented the eagerly awaited proposals concerning two regulations, which are to better regulate online platforms in the future. Provided for, among others, are severe penalties for major online platforms if these do not comply with the new rules.
Die anhaltende Coronakrise verlagert den Kauf von Waren und Dienstleistungen noch stärker ins Internet, große Online-Plattformen verzeichnen Rekordgewinne. Gleichzeitig wächst der Druck auf die PlattformarbeiterInnen, die bereits vor der Krise unter oftmals prekären und ausbeuterischen Arbeitsverhältnissen litten.