Technology and Human Rights: Gig Economy

Technology has driven the emergence of the gig economy, creating more seemingly flexible opportunities for people to earn income, such as through ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, or freelance labour matching platforms such as Taskrabbit. From these new business models have emerged unique business relationships which do not often fit traditional labour frameworks. For example, workers with tasks that resemble those of regular employees’ may be disguised as “self-employed” individuals, “freelancers” or “entrepreneurs” who do not have access to the same rights and benefits legally due to regular employees, including freedom of association and collective bargaining. While providing ease in the delivery of needed services and offering flexible economic opportunities especially to those who are unable to commit to the rigidity of regular employment (such as mothers and homemakers), the gig economy has also presented serious challenges to upholding labour rights by being linked with precarious work, enforced casualisation, uncertain hours, poor pay and involuntary overtime.

This section explores the positive and negative human rights implications associated with the gig economy, as well as the need to re-imagine and transform legal and policy rights protection frameworks in order to keep up with the times.

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22 January 2020

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20 January 2020

UK: 'Upstart unions' are organising workers against precarious employment in gig economy & outsourcing

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20 December 2019
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Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre、Open Global Rights及びワシントン大学*法の支配イニシアチブ

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12 December 2019

USA: Report finds 42% of those sexually assaulted during Uber rides were drivers

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"It’s not just passengers being assaulted in Ubers. Drivers are at risk, too.", 7 December 2019...

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4 December 2019

France: Uber drivers strike over 'undignified' prices, 'abusive logouts' & unauthorised drivers

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"Uber drivers in France on strike over app changes", 26 November 2019...

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4 December 2019

South Korea: Food delivery workers' union granted legal status in Seoul, recognising workers as formal employees

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"More gig workers recognized as employees", 25 November 2019...

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26 November 2019

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25 November 2019

USA: App-based delivery services accused of lowering pay with alterations to algorithims

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19 November 2019

USA: Rev makes changes to pay structure that lowers minimum pay for freelance transcribers

Author: Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company

"How yet another gig company is changing rates and hurting workers", 13 November 2019...

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15 November 2019

USA: New Jersey Labour Department states Uber must pay $650million in unpaid taxes

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