Stripping back the mask: Working conditions on digital labour platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kelle Howson, Funda Ustek-Spilda, Alessio Bertolini, Richard Heeks, Fabian Ferrari, Srujana Katta, Matthew Cole, Pablo Aguera Reneses, Nancy Salem, David Sutcliffe, Shelly Steward, Mark Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Digital labour platforms have been widely promoted as a solution to the unemployment crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has also highlighted the vulnerability of gig workers when cast as essential workers. This article examines the COVID-19 policies of 191 platforms in 43 countries to understand how the crisis has shifted the conventions of the gig economy. Using a typology of “fair platform work”, the authors identify areas of progress in worker protection but also significant shortfalls, including the entrenchment of precarious work as platforms leverage the opportunities arising from the crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-440
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Labour Review
Volume161
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • digital labour platforms
  • future of work
  • gig economy
  • labour rights
  • precarious employment
  • working conditions

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