Sharing our ideas for the future of work in Europe

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, VP and Regional General Manager Uber EMEA

Each day thousands of people in Europe use Uber’s apps to work in a way that fits around their lives. Independent work through apps like Uber can be a powerful tool for creating economic opportunity for people with different backgrounds and aspirations.

The way we work and want to work is changing, raising important questions for policymakers. This calls for a policy debate on the need to adapt our social institutions. At a basic level, everyone should have the ability to protect themselves when they’re injured at work, get sick, or when it’s time to retire.

The ongoing discussions around the European Pillar of Social Rights offer a unique opportunity for governments, businesses, civil society and social partners to come together to devise ways to build a better future of work. Today, I would like to share Uber’s first public contribution to this debate with the publication of our White Paper on Work and Social Protection in Europe.

We need to address the challenges raised by more people choosing to work independently — from the fact that not all ‘flexible work’ gives real control to the individual, to the often patchier social safety net that self-employed people face. We do not believe the solution can be found in restricting how people choose to work, or pushing them into traditional modes of work. Instead we need to look at viable ways to improve work for everyone. We should come together to update the safety net and our social institutions for an age in which people will work in more fluid and varied ways throughout their careers.

There are enormous opportunities to be unlocked if everyone is enabled to work when and how they want to. Working in Paris I’ve seen the potential for Uber to provide a route out of the banlieues, especially for those who are frequently excluded from the traditional labor market. At a time when 84 million people across Europe are out of work or want to work more, new and flexible ways of work could offer more opportunities.

We believe in a world of work with:

  • Flexibility — Everyone can work in a way that suits them, and vary their portfolio of work to suit their needs at their discretion, including at different stages of life. Everyone can manage their life with ease and move freely between different modes of work.
  • Opportunity and access — Everyone can reliably find and keep quality, safe work, free from discrimination, and be able to maintain a good standard of living.
  • Security — Everyone has access to a broad set of reliable and affordable social protections.
  • Growth — Everyone is socially mobile and can access lifelong learning and development opportunities.

There are things Uber is already doing to support this vision, including providing genuine control and flexibility, and innovating to better support the drivers and couriers who use our apps to earn an income.

But these issues stretch well beyond, and long predate, independent workers using apps, and will require broader policy changes. That’s why in the White Paper we’re also sharing our ideas for reforms, including more portable systems of benefits, removing undue occupational licensing barriers, updating employment law, and investing in lifelong learning.

We recognise that these are deep and complex questions that policymakers have grappled with for decades, but we want to bring our contribution and engage in constructive discussions on how technologies such as ours can contribute to a better future of work for all. This is just the start of a discussion, that will hopefully help to deliver tangible improvements for our partners today and long-term policy solutions for all workers tomorrow.

Read the full White Paper here