Digital platforms. On October 14 was held in Switzerland the meeting of experts of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on “decent work in the platform economy”, referring to work on digital platforms, including delivery platforms. At the event, the basis for the eventual establishment of an international convention or standard on the platform economy was discussed. The expert meeting was attended by technical experts from Member States, representatives of the private sector and trade unions. However, the meeting concluded without progress or concrete agreements. A new meeting could take place during the first half of 2023.
For the meeting, the experts were provided with a background document, as well as a series of questions as proposed points for discussion. The first document highlights that the growth of platform work represents an opportunity for job creation, but also a challenge in terms of labor protection. In addition, it was questioned whether platform workers have access to freedom of association as well as effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
In relation to labor, the document mentions that platforms are diverse. In this regard, there are platforms that, for the provision of the services in question, require the workers involved to be located in a given territory (on-site platforms), such as delivery platforms; and others in which workers provide their services online. The number of platforms providing work has increased from 142 to 777 in 2020, the majority of them (383) being delivery platforms.
Among the Latin American representatives was Omar Nacib Esteban, director of Social Welfare of the Mexican Ministry of Labor (STPS in Spanish), who said that “unfortunately, we did not achieve consensus to channel the creation of an agreement on the subject”. Nevertheless, Nacib Esteban pointed out that the governments agreed on the existence of national and international regulatory gaps and decent work deficits. However, the official explained that there was no agreement with the employers’ representatives “especially with regard to the characterization of the problem and the actions to be taken”.
In view of the outcome of the meeting of experts, it is expected that the ILO Governing Body will convene a new meeting so that this issue can be discussed again during the first half of 2023. With the outcome of these meetings, it is expected that a standard-setting item or an item for general discussion can be put on the agenda of the 113th International Conference of the ILO to be held in 2025.
Opportunity for engagement
If the scheme of technical meetings with experts is maintained, McDonald’s could participate in future meetings on the digital platform economy as an employer. Such participation could take place both in the grassroots discussion and in the formulation of an international standard on the platform economy.