Digitalisation and workers participation: What trade unions, company level workers and online platform workers in Europe think

Online workers were, and often still are, not covered by employment law or collective agreements. They seldom have access to social security, paid leave, training etc. owing to the simple fact that the platforms regularly require workers to register as selfemployed. The ETUC saw the need for more evidence and drafted an online questionnaire survey, the first Europe-wide online questionnaire on digitalization, to find out what was happening on the ground in Europe. Our main objective was to learn more about the challengesfaced by and the practices of worker representatives at shop-floor level, trade unionists, and members of works councils, of European works councils or supervisory boards. The response was far greater than expected – in the end, more than 1,500 colleagues from all over Europe participated and delivered interesting insights. This is what our report is about. We thank Eckhard Voss very much for designing and implementing the survey and for drafting this report. In parallel, the questionnaire contained a smaller section aimed at online workers. The results show that the potential for trade unions is higher than expected. Online workers are not only global workers who deal with, for instance, software development and can work from any place on the globe. They also work in sectors such as cleaning, transport, food delivery and similar locally provided services - most of the participants in the survey are from this latter group. The problems faced by local service providers can be addressed in a European directive, which would constitute a clearly necessary step in the right direction in terms of protecting online workers.

ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) (2018), Digitalisation and workers participation: What trade unions, company level workers and online platform workers in Europe think, Brussels.


  • professional services, transport, household tasks
  • EU28
  • 2018
  • Research publication
  • challenges, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue, worker demographics
  • English, French, Polish, Spanish, Italian
  • ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) (Employee organisation)
  • Quantitative research
  • Open access
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