On 29-30 November 2018, the TUAC took part in the OECD Global Forum on Competition and made a case for breaking up the dominant positions of online platforms. As monopsonies, online platforms have adverse effect on workers’ rights, and therefore consumers’ wealth. The TUAC made some recommendations for the competition authorities to factor in employment in their competition analysis:
- competition authorities should develop a well functioning methodology, which needs to take into account employment in order to assess the existence of a dominant position. The ability of online platforms to impose lower wages and poor working conditions without losing all their workforce should become relevant;
- collective bargaining should be treated as an effective counterbalance to dominant position;
- the potential impact of mergers & acquisitions on employment should be assessed by the competition authorities before granting approval;
- policies designed to increase the transparency and accountability of online platforms should be part of an effort to bring the spotlight on unfair business practices;
- well designed domestic policies that aim at facilitating the entry of smaller competitors on the market should not be treated as a form of trade protectionism;
- Competition analysis of the volume and handling of data by online platforms would usefully feed into the discussions on digital taxation.