Are labour regimes keeping up with the gig economy?


Are labour regimes keeping up with the gig economy?

Digital Solutions for Sustainability

Are labour regimes keeping up with the gig economy?

Platform work in the Global South implies several benefits for workers such as more flexibility and more performance-oriented, uncapped pay. At the same time, several adverse working conditions such as a de facto lack of social protection or the inability to collectively organize must be accounted for. To maximize the benefits and minimize the risks, labour regimes are challenged to adapt. Against this backdrop, Cenfri and the JustJobs Network, with support from the Emerging Markets Sustainability Dialogues (EMSD), created the report “Policy options for regulating the platform economy”, which was launched in this Webinar.

After a few welcoming words from Brigitte Klein, Global Programme Director of the EMSD, Albert van der Linden (Cenfri) and the Sabina Devan (JustJobs Network) started the conceptual part with presenting the report. First, they explained the scope and characteristics of platform work in the six African and Asian case countries. They showed that although on still small scale, platform work is increasingly gaining traction. Considering that current labour regimes do not provide for platform workers, they proposed a set of policy options to regulate platform work depending on the development stage of the platform economy.

In the second conceptual input, the Fairwork Foundation, a project of the Oxford Internet Institute that is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, presented its approach to improve platform work conditions. The Fairwork Foundation rates platform companies’ working conditions, thereby incentivizing the latter to initiate positive change to accomplish a higher rating.

In the following panel discussion, Georg Schäfer, Sector Programme Employment Promotion at GIZ and the moderator of the webinar, interviewed Ore Boboye, Chief Operating Officer of the Nigerian job-matching platform Jobberman, and Madhuranath Ramachandra, former Head of Strategy of the Indian ridesharing and food delivery platform Ola. During the panel discussion, they presented their platforms’ business models, before being asked to elaborate on their platforms’ labour conditions as well as their opinion on specific sector regulation.

During the subsequent Q&A-session, the audience engaged in a vivid discussion with the panellists, asking if platforms incentivize workers to work unreasonably long hours to increase income or whether their business models foster informality. Other questions were directed at whether web-based platform work may foster knowledge transfer from the Global North to the Global South – a process which manifests to only a small extent.

The Webinar underpinned that digital platforms are increasingly becoming central not only for labour markets but entire economies. Policy makers are challenged to create conducive environments for platforms to contribute to sustainably thriving economies.

To learn more about the webinar or the report, please contact Luc Wuest at: