Regulating Platforms

Regulating Platforms

As the true nature of Uber, Deliveroo, Amazon mechanical turk and other platforms is becoming public knowledge, other platforms are taking responsibility to work with the staff and their unions

Unfortunately, there is still have a long way to go before our demands of responsible, inclusive and empowering business forms and practices are realised. But across the world, some platforms are shaping up to decent work.

Firstly, the first ever work's council has been created by the bike couriers in Foodora, an app-based restaurant delivery service in Vienna Austria. Supported by the union vida, the main goal of the new works council is to negotiate an agreement on working conditions between couriers and management.

“We want to improve working conditions, for example increased pay for working in difficult conditions such as at night or in winter,” said Adele Siegl, chair of the works council.

Without the enthusiasm and commitment of us as riders, Foodora’s success as a business would not be possible. We would like the company to appreciate this and to earn our enthusiasm.”

Adele Siegl, chair of the works council

“Without the enthusiasm and commitment of us as riders, Foodora’s success as a business would not be possible. We would like the company to appreciate this and to earn our enthusiasm.”

Read more here (English) and here (German)

Secondly, in Australia Unions NSW have signed a landmark agreement with the online job-posting platform Airtasker. Accused previously by unions for posting gig work at pay rates below the national minimum award rates, Airtasker's CEO Tim Fung comments on the new agreement:

"From Airtasker's point of view, our mission is to empower people to realise the value of their skills. So both of us are trying to achieve the same outcome by working together."

The agreement includes a commitment to promote pay rates above the minimum rate, workers will be offered an affordable and flexible insurance to cover workplace injuries and illness and an option for a personal injury insurance.

Commenting on the agreement, Mr Morey asserts that the agreement is a huge advance for wages and conditions of those working through the Airtasker platform.

Morey continues:

It establishes an important beachhead for regulating the gig economy. Others should follow Airtasker's example and consider the ethical dimension of their impact.

Mark Morey, Unions NSW

"It establishes an important beachhead for regulating the gig economy. Others should follow Airtasker's example and consider the ethical dimension of their impact"

Philip Jennings, UNI Global Union GS adds:

"We are pushing for corporate responsibility in the digital economy everywhere we can, and are thrilled to see that some platforms are willing to engage with workers to improve conditions. We cannot, and will not, accept that certain business forms can fly under the regulatory radar undermining decent standards and exploiting workers. It is in everyone's interest to stop the individualisation and casualisation of work." 

Whilst these two examples are steps along the way to decent work for all, Jennings underlines that there is still a way to go. 

"We simply need to get all businesses, in all forms, to contribute to our societies through decent working conditions, decent pay, taxes and social contributions. I welcome the UK Parliamentary Select Committee report that recognises this and recognises that workers are being exploitated when denied employee status. Now we need to see the Committee's recommendations enacted - not just in the UK, but across the world"