ILO BARES NEED FOR DIGITAL LABOR PLATFORMS
Digital labour platforms have increased five-fold worldwide in the last decade according to the ILO’s latest World Employment and Social Outlook 2021 report.
This growth has underlined the need for international policy dialogue and regulatory cooperation in order to provide decent work opportunities and foster the growth of sustainable businesses more consistently.
According to the report World Employment and Social Outlook 2021: The role of digital labour platforms in transforming the world of work, digital labour platforms are providing new work opportunities, including for women, persons with disabilities, young people and those marginalized in traditional labour markets. Platforms also allow businesses to access a large flexible workforce with varied skills, while expanding their customer base.
The report focuses on two main types of digital labour platform: online web-based platforms, where tasks are performed online and remotely by workers, and location-based platforms, where tasks are performed at a specified physical location by individuals, such as taxi drivers and delivery workers.
Its findings are based on surveys and interviews with some 12,000 workers and representatives of 85 businesses around the world in multiple sectors.
New Challenges for Workers and Businesses
The challenges for platform workers relate to working conditions, the regularity of work and income, and the lack of access to social protection, freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.
Working hours can often be long and unpredictable. Half of online platform workers earn less than US$2 per hour. In addition, some platforms have significant gender pay gaps. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed many of these issues, says the report.
Many businesses face challenges relating to unfair competition, non- transparency with regard to data and pricing, and high commission fees. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) also have difficulties accessing finance and digital infrastructure.