Dutch union FNV has become a tormentor of gig economy platforms like ride-hailing app Uber and food-delivery app Deliveroo. Zakaria Boufangacha, vice president and responsible for labor conditions at FNV, has been a key figure in the fight. Boufangacha — of Moroccan descent, and born and raised in the Netherlands — claimed success twice in the last year. Dutch judges ruled against Uber and Deliveroo in cases that FNV brought to court, claiming that platforms should treat their workers according to the rules of the taxi and transport sector.
When he was reelected as FNV board member 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 championing for yourself and others,” he tweeted. Boufangacha’s life path could have been less fortunate, he once admitted. “I see that a lot of boys ended up going down the wrong way, and I think: It could have happened to me as well,” he told the Financieele Dagblad.
Boufangacha’s fight is not over yet. In February, he signed an FNV letter demanding a government crackdown on inaccurate self-employment classification. If the government didn’t respond, FNV threatened to take it to court. Fights like these can capture attention at a time when the EU is considering 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 starting their work, closely watched by people like Boufangacha.
What to watch out for this year: Talks with the Dutch government on classifying self-employed workers, while EU lawmakers also address the issue.
What’s their superpower: Honoring his father as an inspiration in his fight.
Influence score: 18/30