TeamHub Project Concludes with Insights into Europe’s E-commerce and Logistics Challenges

28 Jun 2024

ETF is delighted to have participated in the final conference of the EU Project Team Hub that took place on June 20, 2024, at the CGIL national head office. TeamHub is a project supported by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, with ETF participating as an Associate Partner.

The project analysed the trends and challenges in the e-commerce and logistics supply chain in nine European countries (Belgium, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain). The study analyses the sector using documentary and empirical research tools and mutual learning activities involving a trans-European consortium of universities, research institutes and trade unions.

The TeamHub Final Report brings together the results obtained throughout the project from a threefold economic, social and environmental perspective. Particular attention was paid to the business models of large e-commerce and logistics companies, which organize services and activities according to a model of “verticalization” of the supply chain. The study showed that e-commerce and logistics are inextricably linked: supply chain efficiency becomes crucial to ensure the sector’s profitability, and logistics gains added value, becoming a key asset, given its strategic role in the rapid satisfaction of consumer needs and expectations.

The research confirms that working conditions tend to be poor in the e-commerce and logistics sectors across Europe. As far as shipping activities are concerned, particularly in last-mile delivery, structural precariousness related to the spread of outsourcing and subcontracting processes is widespread, as well as the increase of specific risks such as bogus self-employment, excessive work pressure, intensification of work rhythms and workloads, and lack of union rights and collective bargaining coverage.

Concerning warehouse activities, precariousness is related to the high rate of temporary, on-call and intermittent contracts, or temporary work, due to seasonal peaks, while poor working conditions are mainly due to the lack of predictability of working hours, the frequency of overtime, night work and physical exertion related to carrying heavy loads and repetitive handling.

TeamHub also shows that the rise of e-commerce, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has changed the consumption pattern with repercussions on land geography and public space management. The multiplication of logistics hubs brings with it uncontrolled land consumption in the absence of logistics plans that ensure that e-commerce players contribute to the growth of local communities while also regulating environmental impacts.

To the research conclusions, the partners integrated policy recommendations addressed to national and European policymakers and trade unions. The recommendations are designed to encourage sustainable business models and industrial relations in the e-commerce supply chain to govern the phenomena studied and ensure the social and environmental sustainability of the sector.

ETF would like to congratulate Team Hub on this timely research that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the challenges that logistics and delivery workers face and sheds light on the urgent need for coherent and robust legislation to ensure their right to decent work.