The Digital Platform Workers’ Trade Union was established in Croatia, as a member of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC). The new union will gather and organize workers who are engaged at various digital platforms in Croatia, such as Uber, Bolt, Glovo, Wolt, Bolt Food.
The proclamation of the digital workers’ union states: “A lot of us earn their income exclusively through these platforms”, as reported by MAZ (Antifascist Network Zagreb’s online media). “Over time, the shortcomings of such work became more pronounced. On the one hand, persons who have opened their companies and firms, despite being considered self-employed before the state, are in practice completely subject to the mercy of the platform’s business conditions. Platforms, on the other hand, distance themselves from any responsibility because such ‘self-employed’ people are considered ‘partners’.”
The Union’s representatives further state that people engaged in companies that operate as platforms’ “partners” are in a particularly precarious position. Namely, a number of such companies register them for only 2-4 hours of work, they often drive rented vehicles for which they pay about 130€ per week, they are not entitled to sick leave, vacation, they pay their own contributions (often not paid by their employers), they are not eligible for a car loan (since the companies they work for close their businesses and open new ones as soon as they are forced to enter the VAT system).
The union was established in order for the minimum rights guaranteed by the Labour Law of the Republic of Croatia to get applied to digital workers, to fight for rights such as the right to a working contract, health and social insurance, vacation, sick leave, occupational safety and the like. The union also intends to work in favour of regulating the relationship between digital platforms and the state, so that the platforms start paying taxes.
In Serbia, there have been several attempts to organize drivers who work through platforms and the largest unions have expressed interest in participating in such ventures. However, no unions have yet been established. You can read more about the position of digital workers in Serbia on Mašina.
Translation: Iskra Krstić
This article was ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in Serbian on Sep 6, 2021.