The state of work in SA’s gig economy

Picture: Unsplash

Picture: Unsplash

Published Jul 18, 2021


Working for Uber, MrD and other digital platforms is not fair after all. This has been revealed by a newly launched report by the Fairwork Project. The report highlights the precarious nature of work in the gig economy. The sustained impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges to South Africa’s economy. Unfortunately, the impact of the pandemic has been felt disproportionately by those who work outside of formal employment, particularly the rising number of workers who rely on gig platforms for income.

Digital labour platforms hold the potential to reduce South Africa’s sky-high unemployment and inequality, with an estimated 30 000 workers engaged in location-based platform work like taxi driving, delivery and cleaning. However, there is growing evidence that platform workers worldwide face unfair work conditions, and lack the benefits and protections afforded to employees.

“Work in the gig economy is often unsafe and insecure. Workers lack protections afforded to regular employees and are vulnerable to unfair practices like arbitrary termination, often based on inequitable regimes of customer ratings. It is important to understand and highlight unfair labour practices in the gig economy, and to assist workers, consumers and regulators as they hold platforms to account,” said Professor Jean-Paul van Belle, Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town.

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Related Topics:

gig economy