Platform Work and the Danish Model – Legal Perspectives
Labour law and services provided via online platforms or digital apps, platform work, appear to be an ill-matched couple as the business model of the platforms often relies on the worker not being an employee, whereas labour law categorises persons performing work as either self-employed or employees, depending on the circumstances of the relationship. Recent European and national case law concerning Uber illustrate that the classification of platform work is complicated. This article examines platform work in the light of the Danish model of providing a legal basis for decent pay and working conditions by way of collective bargaining. Collective agreements are a prerequisite for the Danish model to be extended to persons providing services via digital platforms. Platform businesses operate in an uncertain realm where the use of collective agreements could be questionable from a labour law as well as from a competition law perspective. The article takes a closer look at such legal perspectives by drawing out principles from national case law as well as case law of the European Court of Justice. The article further discusses a trial-agreement concluded between a trade union and a platform business in Denmark. The article concludes that collective agreements would be in line with the Danish model as well as with competition law, as long as the circumstances of each contract of service are characteristic of employment and as long as the service providers are not genuinely self-employed. The article contributes to the discourse on collective agreements as a means to ensure decent pay and working conditions as well as societal values and protections for persons providing services in the form of labour via online websites and digital apps.