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21 Jul 2022

The Straits Times

Asia: Vulnerable gig workers suffer through extreme heat conditions across region

"Heatwave fee for Asia's gig workers does little to cool climate stress", 21 July 2022

...[T]here has been little discussion of how riders and drivers are dealing with extreme weather, as they often work long hours, waiting at street corners and outside restaurants for orders, and have limited access to medical care. Only now is the issue starting to grab the public's attention as climate change brings more frequent and intense heatwaves and floods around the world, raising questions about the health impacts for the must vulnerable in the labour force.

India, which is estimated to have more than 7.5 million gig workers, was hit by several heatwaves in April and May, with temperatures of 45-50 deg C recorded in parts of the country.


...critics say it exploits workers who have few other choices, and that it undercuts hard-won labour rights, with gig workers in poorer nations largely treated as casual labour.


Where labourers have to work during these hours, employers must provide cold drinking water, first-aid kits, cooling facilities and shaded rest areas... Exposure to extreme heat can have adverse health impacts, and also carries an increased risk of injury or lapses in concentration.