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On 16 April 2018, an agreement establishing an SE Works Council in Delivery Hero was finally signed in Berlin, after months of tough negotiations.

This is good news, after the decision of the Tribunal in Turin on 11 April 2018 rejecting the request of six riders who lost their jobs after questioning the introduction of piecework.

The negotiations started after the decision of the German based company Delivery Hero to convert into a “European Company” (Societas Europaea SE). A European Company is a commercial company set up in the form of a European public limited-liability company. Whereas the main aim of the SE legislation is to enable companies in Europe to operate their cross-border businesses under the same corporate regime, it also represents a milestone in the field of employee involvement, most notably with regard to participation at board level. According to EU legislation, an SE cannot be established without an arrangement having been reached on the issue of employee involvement. Companies converting their status into a Societas Europea have to provide for the involvement of their employees in the constitution and the life of the SE, through information, consultation and participation procedures to be detailed at the negotiating table.

Commenting on the agreement, EFFAT representatives at the negotiating table, Stefania Radici from Filcams-CGIL, and Christoph Schink and Julia Grimme from NGG, said: “Negotiations started six months ago. The process was initially very complicated, but at the end we were able to reach an agreement which guarantees the rights of employees and an effective participation in the life of the group.”

The agreement foresees that each country has at least one employee representative within the SE-Works Council (SE-WC), and that the SE-WC has to be provided with detailed information on the company’s strategies, on any investment or divestment plans, on all plans which may impact the work organisation and employee interests. Furthermore, it provides for the participation of employees in the Supervisory Board of the group, where so far there were only shareholders representatives. Employee representatives will now be in the same number and have the same voting rights.

The fight of the riders and, in general, of all workers employed in the gig-economy for fair working conditions, a salary based on working hours, a minimum working week, sick leave, holidays and social security contributions must be a priority of the trade union movement at European and national level. The agreement signed on 16 April 2018 is a small but significant step in the right direction and opens new opportunities to be explored for a shared governance of the changes imposed by the digital revolution.