Historic agreement: Digital platform concludes collective agreement

The company behind Hilfr, a Danish online platform for cleaning services, has signed a collective agreement with the United Federation of Danish Workers.

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The platform economy

The Danish cleaning services platform, Hilfr, has signed a collective agreement with 3F (the United Federation of Danish workers). This could be the first time in history that a digital platform enters into a collective agreement.

A number of the new platforms offering services by workers have been accused of wage dumping and undeclared work, but with this collective agreement, Hilfr-workers will enjoy the same conditions as other workers on the Danish labour market.

With the Hilfr-agreement, workers using the platform get workers’ rights.

They have the right to pension, holiday pay, collective-agreement wages and, in time, more elements will be included in the agreement which is, so far, a one-year agreement.

 

PM: A pioneering agreement in keeping with an old tradition

As the parties signed the agreement, Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, observed them attentively. Because, as he said, an agreement on decent working conditions and tax payment with a new, digital platform is a major event.

– This is an agreement which builds a bridge between the interests of an employee and a company. It is, actually, a pioneering agreement in keeping with an old tradition.

– It provides security for the individual and responsibility towards the community, said the Prime Minister.

 

A landmark; Decent conditions for platform workers

A partnership between the trade union movement and a digital platform offering services would normally seem to be a bad match. But if you ask one of the four founders of Hilfr, Nicolai Søndergård Kjær, it has never been Hilfr’s intention to undermine the Danish labour market.

– It was never part of our business model to undermine the way we go about things in Denmark. What we wanted was to give Danes the freedom and flexibility that new technology provides. With this, we have tried to create a solution that respects the Danish model, Nicolai Søndergård Kjær says.

3F President, Per Christensen calls the agreement a landmark when it comes to platforms.

– It means that Danish workers using Hilfr are now entitled to pensions, holiday pay, and collective-agreement wages, he says.

 

Trial agreement

The agreement between Hilfr and 3F is a so-called trial agreement which only has a life of one year. When it expires, it must be renegotiated if both parties wish to continue the cooperation.

At the moment, the collective agreement means that workers can receive a letter of employment and, thereby, be entitled to sickness benefits, pension contributions and holiday pay.

However, unemployment benefit and training and education are still not included. The plan is that they will be included later.

-The basic structure has been laid and, in time, it can develop into a Danish model for the platform economy, says Anna Ilsøe, Associate Professor at FAOS.

 

Still a long way to go

In 3F, they know that there is still a long way to go.

– This is a very big and important step we have taken. However, it is just a single step down a very long road, says Group President, Tina Møller Madsen.

– We are building a bridge between the Danish model and the new digital platforms, and there are major challenges facing us.

It has therefore been important for me to conclude a trial agreement that will, hopefully, be renewed with Hilfr after the trial period is over.

 

Leading the way: A Danish model for the platform economy

Nicolai Søndergård Kjær from Hilfr also plans to pick up the negotiation of a new agreement once the trial period is over.

And he hopes that Hilfr will not be the only platform with a collective agreement.

– We are showing the way for a platform solution in Denmark that incorporates the strengths of the Danish model.

Now that we have created the framework, we are certain that other platforms will follow.

If they don’t, there are certainly many of them that don’t walk the talk.

 

The article is a translation based on this article in the 3F-newsletter, https://fagbladet3f.dk/artikel/rengoeringsapp-indgaar-aftale-med-3f