Dutch trade union FNV has become a tormentor of gig-saving platforms like ride-hailing app Uber and food delivery app Deliveroo. Zakaria Boufangacha, vice-president and head of working conditions at the FNV, has been a key figure in the struggle. Boufangacha – of Moroccan descent, born and raised in the Netherlands – has won twice in the past year. Dutch judges have ruled against Uber and Deliveroo in cases brought to court by FNV, saying the platforms must treat their workers in accordance with taxi and transport industry rules.
When he was re-elected to the FNV board in June last year, Boufangacha honored his father as an inspiration: “My father would be proud: Mohamed Boufangacha. He taught me the importance of a fight and standing up for yourself and others,” he tweeted. Boufangacha’s life path could have been less happy, he once admitted. “I see that a lot of boys ended up taking the wrong path, and I think it could have happened to me too,” he told Financieele Dagblad.
Boufangacha’s fight is not over yet. In February, he signed a letter from the FNV demanding a government crackdown on the inaccurate classification of self-employed workers. If the government did not respond, the FNV threatened to take the matter to court. Fights like these may draw attention at a time when the EU is looking at the employment status of platform workers. The Commission presented its proposal in December, which could reclassify up to 4.1 million platform workers as employees. Parliament and Council are now beginning their work, closely watched by people like Boufangacha.
What to watch out for this year: Discussions with the Dutch government on the classification of self-employed, while European lawmakers also address the issue.
What is their superpower: Honoring his father as an inspiration in his fight.
Influence Rating: 18/30