Dire working conditions for Belgian platform workers

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A new study finds that five of the largest platform companies in Belgium fail to offer fair working conditions. The Fairwork research†project in Belgium, †at the Centre for Sociological Research at KU Leuven and in collaboration with the University of Oxford, rated the working conditions of Takeaway, Ring Twice, Deliveroo, Yoopies, and Top Help. Workers on these platforms reported dire conditions, including pay below minimum wage, unclear contracts, and lack of access to collective representation mechanisms.†

Fairwork†Ratings for Belgium 2022

  • Takeaway: 6
  • Ring Twice: 4
  • Deliveroo: 1
  • Yoopies: 0
  • Top Help: 0

This is the first study that ranks the working conditions of platforms in Belgium’s food delivery sector and care sector against five principles of fair work - fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management and fair representation. Takeaway, the only platform analysed that offers employment contracts, scored 6 out of 10 points. Ring Town, a Belgian start-up, came in second place with 4 points. The other platforms scored either 1 point (Deliveroo) or 0 points (Yoopies and Top Help).

The study found that platforms in the care sector (Top Help and Yoopies) performed the worst in the ratings. Valeria Pulignano, Professor of Sociology at KU Leuven, said: "Our research reveals how care platforms tend to disregard existing regulations and rather end up boosting informal work, which translates into a consistent amount of unpaid labour undertaken by the workers in the form of unguaranteed minimum wages and lack of social security coverage."

The findings of the report indicate how, despite the strong regulations and trade unions’ presence in Belgium, digital platform workers tend to fall outside the scope of collective sectoral agreements. This situation has severe repercussions on working conditions, exposing workers to wage dumping, risky conditions, and limiting their rights to collective representation.

Key findings

  • Only two platforms (Takeaway and Ring Twice) guarantee a minimum wage after costs. Workers fall outside of the collective agreements.
  • Only one platform (Takeaway) could prove they offer protections for work-related risks.
  • Three out of six platforms - Deliveroo, Ring Twice and Takeaway - could show they provide clear, transparent and accessible terms and conditions.
  • Only Ring Twice and Takeaway demonstrated due process for decisions affecting workers.
  • No platform met the principle of fair representation, meaning Belgian platform workers are left without institutional channels to influence the decisions that impact their jobs.

Despite the efforts by some platforms, the low scores for the five platforms indicate a strong imperative for regulatory reform and enforcement. However, the range of scores points to the fact that poor working conditions are not inevitable. Platform work can also mean fair work. This initial report establishes a baseline for the current state of Belgium’s platform economy. The Fairwork researchers plan†to continue studying the development of platform work and update their ratings on an annual basis.

Our research reveals how care platforms tend to disregard existing regulations and rather end up boosting informal work.


In response to the study, Deliveroo has questioned the research results. The company stresses the high levels of worker satisfaction and the benefits it offers. "We can assure the research has been conducted accurately and objectively, which is guaranteed by the peer-reviewed Fairwork scoring process", Professor Valeria Pulignano responds. "The Fairwork rating reflects whether or not platforms guarantee certain minimum standards for all workers, independently of their employment status. Even if some benefits are provided to workers, and workers are satisfied, this doesn’t mean all minimum thresholds regarding fair work have been attained. Furthermore, our research shows that other (platform) companies provide ’flexibility’ to their workforce while also guaranteeing certain minimum thresholds. We encourage Deliveroo to offer these guarantees as well."