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Progress in the fight against the exploitation of platform workers

The work of the platform workers despite the controversy it created and still creates in our country due to the conditions and miserable wages that they sometimes earn, we cannot but recognize their work that they carried out when our country was going through – the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. These were instrumental in delivering food to those who could not leave their homes due to the quarantine period. Today the service of these workers has become something almost constantly sought by many Maltese and Gozitans.

We can’t help but recognize that in this sector abuses are still carried out on these workers so much so that the government has carried out a reform in this sector so that these abuses decrease as much as possible and also so that these workers are given the conditions they deserve. In addition, this reform is helping them to be better informed about what rights they have before the law.

This is because even though in our country no worker can earn less than the minimum wage, more likely than not, platform workers were being exploited, not only in payment but also in their working hours . It is not the first time that we have seen motorbikes going around distributing food in the early hours of the morning, rather it seems that this has become the norm mostly from other workers who work in night shifts. The long hours that these workers have to work, often in a constant struggle against time, lead to unfortunate incidents in which these same people are endangering their lives and that of others. While it is good that this reform was made, the need for them to be regularized also in terms of the way they drive on the roads remains a fact.

This reform has already been in force for three months and as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Social Dialogue Andy Ellul said, it has started to produce the desired results so much so that the Department of Industrial Relations has not received any report to date. of abuse from its inception.

This does not mean that all the abuses have been stopped, on the contrary we believe that it is not easy to completely stop this abuse in this sector even more so when we are living in a new reality of work for which the demand is constantly increasing .

In the context of all this, the General Workers’ Union was instrumental in introducing a reform whose first aim was to greatly reduce precarious work in our country. Therefore, the cry of the GWU is also in place, that everyone who works, even in this sector, is obliged to join a union of his choice so that he has someone to protect his interests.

Although not everyone agrees with the mandatory membership of workers in a trade union, it cannot be said that this is not a measure aimed at improving, not only the quality of work but also protecting workers from exploitation.