What is the future for their business model?

In just a few years, delivery platforms have become important, both for consumers and for the catering sector, which has been severely impacted by Covid-19. However, the recent judgments of some platforms and their former managers for secret work, combined with the recent case law of the Court of Cassation, which goes in the direction of re -qualification to the employment contract of existing relationships between the platform and the courier, came to reshuffle the cards.

1 – State of play of the current model

Whether the economic development of these platforms is currently primarily supported by fundraising and their fragile economic model[1], yet they became inevitable. Their couriers are all self-employed, within the meaning of article L.7341-1 of the Labor Code and subject to flexibility imposed by principals and consumers.
However, in 2018, the Social Chamber of the Court of Cassation issued its first judgment regarding these workers.[2], by pronouncing re -qualification in the employment relationship contract that binds couriers to their platform. In this judgment used in disguised work, the Court relied on the classic definition of the subordination relationship. Then the Deliveroo platform convicted for secret Labor Court work[3]while in 2020 couriers filed applications for re -qualification as employment contracts againstUber Eats, Deliveroo, Stuart at Frichti.

The law of this case, then confirmed[4], however, did not sound the death knell for this model, as this market became inevitable. Some also consider that the indirect consequence of changing all couriers to employees is the elimination of a large portion of these jobs, due to the unstable weight of employees for the economic model that ito.[5]. In addition, the legal battle surrounding the people who deliver is far from definitively resolved, as the Paris Court of Appeal recently rejected a request for re -qualification of a carrier’s contract for the provision of services in a contract with employment, considering that no relation of subordination is characterized, both in relation to the content of the contract for the provision of services and to the terms of implementation of this service[6].

How can this model be sustainable? Should we provide more guarantees to these workers by maintaining their self-employed status or, conversely, make this model employee?

2 – The uncertain future of platform workers

An initial indication rests on the report submitted by the mission led by Jean-Yves Frouin in December 2020, which eliminates the use of employees, but recommends securing their employment relationships through the use of a third party, through activity cooperatives. and jobs or salaries. companies. The report also recommends the development of social dialogue through the organization of union elections and protection of elected representatives. By way of control, he proposes in particular the creation of a regulatory authority for the platforms, the management of driving time and a minimum wage.

Finally, a second response was given a few weeks ago, as an information mission on the impact of digital platforms on professions and jobs delivered its conclusions and outlined 18 recommendations on the following key issues: improving working conditions, developing social dialogue, the principle of the minimum wage to be set by law and its determination ensured by social negotiation, the framework of algorithmic management as well as transparency, clarification and regulation of algorithms. For the rapporteur, it is unthinkable to rethink the social protection of these workers without addressing the issue of price and wage.

It is clear that “ platformization of the economy is an irreversible phenomenon, a reality economic and social reality involving many places and where it is impossible to return. It is therefore urgent to find an acceptable balance between the job transformations caused by the development of these platforms and a necessary adaptation of the legal framework that adequately protects workers. If so, it is up to the legislator to find this middle ground. : on January 5, 2022, the joint committee will meet with responsibility for proposing a text on the provisions still under discussion of the bill enacting Ordinance No. 2021-484 of April 21, 2021 relating to procedures of representation of self-employed workers. their activity on the platforms and the conditions for the use of this representation and empowering the Government to increase by ordinance the guidelines for organizing social dialogue on the platforms.

The Tribune wrote with Marion Narran-Finkelstein, lawyer at Velvet Avocats, doctor of law from the University of Montpellier I who assists Aurélie Kamali-Dolatabadi with employment law.
[1] Deliveroo’s losses were, in 2016, equal to its turnover. Some went bankrupt like Take Eat Easy in 2016 while others were sold out (Foodora or Allo Resto).
[2] Cas. soc., 28 Nov 2018, n ° 17-20.079
[3] CPH Paris, 4 February 2020, n ° 19/07738
[4] Court of Cassation, civil, Social Chamber, March 4, 2020, n ° 19-13.316
[5] However, the start-up Just Eat is, so far, working well, by offering a platform model that combines flexibility and labor law, as it only uses couriers on permanent contracts, in time. whole or partially.
[6] CA Paris, 7 April 2021, n ° 18/02846

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