Interview with Avv. Cafiero on the “Dignity Decree” of Minister Di Maio.

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Presidente Dr. Marcello Bianchi – Via Piemonte, 101  00187 – Roma




It is sacrosanct. Riders, or crowdworkers, if you like, like those of Foodora, Deliveroo, UberEat, Take it Easy, are desperate for job protection. The dignity decree announced by Minister Di Maio, which qualifies riders as employees tout court, extends to them the right to a minimum economic treatment, such as that of an allowance for availability for periods of non-work, and finally the right to disconnect , however, risks creating at least three new problems to solve one. In the first place, the decree extends to the workers of the gig economy an old discipline, born at the beginning of the twentieth century, tailored to the workers of the Fordist factory and therefore to those who lent their work within predefined spaces, respecting a timetable of predefined work and under the lashing of employer leadership. And instead, the riders, while remaining a weak part of the employment relationship, do not set foot in the factory or in the office, but perform work in undefined or “itinerant” spaces, carry out their activity not according to a fixed working time but according to one variable because it is self-determined, and they are not subject to the directive power that our labor legislation has designed. It is no coincidence that the Turin Labor Judge, in a recent May ruling, qualified them as coordinated and continuous collaborators, recognizing in the activity of the riders only a coordination constraint with the platform and their ability to decide the spaces and times of work.

The same right to disconnect, which jumped to the headlines with the French labor reform first and then with the law n. 81 of 2017 to regulate smartworking, is out of place in this case. Riders, in fact, must be guaranteed to be able to work whenever they want, anytime the British would say, with a rating calibrated on the hours actually worked, and therefore, for example, to be able to work strenuously for days in a row and then unplug it when they prefer it. The second order problem concerns the debasement of collective bargaining which the “dignity decree” is likely to develop. The role of collective agreements should not be confined to a benchmark for minimum economic treatment – despite the rumors that the option for the legal minimum wage seemed to be making its way – for availability allowances or holidays. In this game, rather the social partners must play a leading role but in a different guise. The union, for example, must strip itself of the guise of representation, because the riders fall outside the traditional representation schemes within which it traditionally acts, and wear that of the “union of services” in favor of these workers. In other words, the union must conquer the role of intermediary between platforms and workers to guarantee the basic protections of the working relationship of the crowdworkers, like the “umbrella companies” of Belgian extraction or the “Independent Driver Guild” in the New York area. , an organization recently created for the protection of Uber workers within the “International Association of Machinists and AerospaceWorkers (IAM)”. It also deals with privacy protections, given the considerable amount of sensitive data that the crowdworkers disseminate on the platforms and their constant geolocation, in terms of social safety nets in case of platform default, in the matter of debt collection in the same hypothesis.

The third order of problems concerns the risk, even high considering the declarations of the last few days, that the platforms – as a result of the application of an excessively rigid regulation of labor relations – flee from our country, which instead desperately needs employment. In fact, the rules of our labor law, literally burdened by the years, risk to tighten the flexibility, to burden companies with unnecessary bureaucracy, to create judicial quagmires, to raise cumbersome debates. Having said this, moving on to the hypothesis of solutions, it becomes necessary to create a stable core of rights applicable to the worker as such and not as subordinate, autonomous or coordinated and continuous collaborator and therefore a Statute of rights common to workers, in the wake of of international protection traced by the ILO (International Labor Organization) to define “decent work”. According to the Organization, the work must be adjectivised or be dignified or of quality and therefore able to guarantee those who access it, in any form, especially equality, fair wages, conditions In this perspective, English jurisprudence has already moved. As highlighted by two recent English judgments, one of the Royal Court of Justice (Pimlico vs Smith, 10 February 2017), the other of the EmploymentTribunal (case 2202550/15 Aslam / Farrar), the crowdworkers go beyond traditional legal schemes because the technological revolution as we have seen, it has put into crisis the categories on which they have stood and therefore need common protection. In particular, this jurisprudence has proposed to extend the protection statute provided by the Employment Rights Act of 1996 for the employee, employee, to the worker, any other type of worker. Along the same lines, the English report “Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices” of July 2017 according to which “all employees are workers, but not all workers are employees”. Ultimately, the old rule holds that new problems impose new solutions. Retrotopia, moreover, as Bauman would say, is the danger of our times.