The way of work on digital platforms It has made it difficult to create trade unions. However, globally, more and more labor movements are arising in the application industry. And within their demands is the classification of male and female workers, which “becomes relevant” because that could prevent or facilitate their collective bargaining.
“There are those who question the compatibility between the right to Collective negotiation of self-employed workers and free competition”, says the International Labor Organization (ILO). This is recounted in Reference documenta base text for the tripartite meeting on decent work in the platform economy that he convened in mid-October.
According to free competition, people have the freedom to enter or leave an economic activity. That is, if they do not agree with certain working conditions, they can resign or not participate in them.
Under this logic, it is “obvious” that if they are classified as dependent workers they have the right to organize and create a union, “but not so much” if they are considered autonomous. That is why, in the midst of a worldwide debate, its legal definition is of great importance.
In Mexico, the federal government is preparing a reform to the Federal Labor Law (LFT) to include people who work as drivers and delivery people in a digital application. The possibility of this modification is perceived to be close since the companies have participated in public forums, have met with the labor authorities and have been more open to stating their positions.
In recent years, different groups and organizations of platform workers have been formed in this country to defend their labor rights. However, the general percentage of unionization in the country is low, barely 13% of the working population belongs to a union.
On-site platforms and online platforms
The ILO tripartite meeting on decent work in the platform economy took place for a week in mid-October but ended without agreement. In the document that the international organization presented to the parties, it distinguishes two types of employment in the applications: on site and online.
the platforms on site they refer to those that provide a service for which “they need to locate the workers involved in a certain territory”. These are the ones from delivery, transport or care of people and they are “a visible and contactable workforce”.
On online platforms, meanwhile, “workers lend their Online services”. For example, consultancy, design of software, review of images for social networks, to name a few cases. Those who work in this way are “an invisible workforce scattered around the world.”
These differences influence collective organizationpoints out the ILO, because “while organizations and actions in defense of the interests of the workers of the former are known (on site), there is hardly any evidence of organizations and actions of the latter (online)”.
Neither the way of carrying out the work, nor the professional profiles, nor the self-perception, nor the possibilities of subjecting their occupation to regulation “have to coincide in both forms of work,” says the agency.
“Driving a vehicle for one platform and designing a website for another have in common that they are jobs that are done through a platform, but they can differ in many other variables. Therefore, the platform work it can hardly be considered in a unitary way”, adds the document.
The possibilities of regulation are limited
Transportation and delivery companies by application base their arguments for not recognizing an employment relationship with drivers and delivery people in that their business model is different from that of any other company.
But for the ILO, “platforms in there are related to the Work market in a similar way to how the traditional company does it, in the sense of having to hire and organize in the place in question the work they need to provide their services”.
Instead, “online platforms are global virtual spaces in which users interrelate with professionals to carry out certain tasks”. This is the case of the pages of freelancers.
In addition, the companies on site “they need to relate to local labor markets and their rules and institutions” and have the possibility of “reorganizing the Autonomous work already existing in a certain sector (for example, in the taxi sector) or try to replace the use of salaried work in some sectors with the hiring of self-employment”.
While online work companies “act as a kind of ‘planetary pool’ in the cloud that allows fragmentation, extension and offshoring economic activities with hardly any relation to the corresponding labor market and its institutions”. Therefore, those who work in this way have more obstacles to unionize.
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