Ombuds Office

In cooperation with the German metalworkers’ union (IG Metall), several platforms and the German Crowdsourcing Association have established a joint Ombuds Office.

 

Scope of the initiative

The Office aims to address complaints and resolve disputes between workers, clients and platforms (applicable only to those which have signed the Crowdsourcing Code of Conduct). Issues may be logged through an online form in German or English and are considered eligible when:

  • The platform in question has signed the Code of Conduct;
  • The complaint is concrete, for example when it concerns payment or procedures on the platform;
  • The issue has already been raised with the platform but has not been (satisfactorily) resolved.

If a platform company is proved to have breached the CoC more than once, it is removed from the list of CoC signees.

The Office applies to:

  • the German Confederation of Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB) or any of its affiliates;
  • Individual crowdworkers working for one of the signees of the CoC; in case the crowdworker resides in a foreign country and cannot be supported by a DGB affiliate, a foreign trade union can provide support. 
  • any signee of the CoC, no matter whether the company is based in Germany or in another country;
  • the German Association of Crowdsourcing Companies (Deutscher Crowdsourcingverband).

The decision of the Ombuds Office provided in writing (in English if the company involved is not based in Germany). Having a decision from the Ombuds Office does not exclude pursuing the matter through filing a case in court. 

The Ombuds Office releases an annual internal report providing details on its activity.

 

Scale of the initiative

As of June 2021, eight platforms and the German Crowdsourcing Association have signed the CoC. The German Crowdsourcing Association and eight of the companies are headquartered in Germany while one company is headquartered in the UK.  On the trade union side, IG Metall is actively involved in the initiative. A total of 48 complaints have been submitted to the Office between 2017 and 2020.

 

Strengths and weaknesses

The Ombuds Office provides a platform for solving employment issues outside courts. It also stimulates dialogue between platform companies and trade unions on working conditions and promotes cooperation between these actors.

However, as indicated by the number of complaints submitted in recent years, the initiative is relatively small. Awareness of the initiative amongst platform workers is also limited due to limited dissemination efforts amongst the parties which signed the CoC. This limits the effectiveness of the initiative.

Metadata

  • Initiative
  • Arbitration
  • Germany
  • Employee organisation, Platform
  • Yes
  • English, German
  • 2021
Disclaimer  —  Eurofound aims to keep the information in this database up to date and accurate. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. However, Eurofound bears no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy or content of this database or of external links over which Eurofound services have no control and for which Eurofound assumes no responsibility.