Global Labour Unrest on Platforms: The case of food delivery workers

Trappmann, V., Bessa, I., Joyce, S., Neumann, D., Stuart, M. and Umney, C. (2020) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Labour unrest by platform workers is an important phenomenon in the new world of work. This study examines patterns of platform labour unrest on a global scale, drawing from a database of over 500 instances of labour unrest in the food delivery sector. Results show that labour unrest has been growing in recent years and has spread across a large number of countries around the world. Research findings show that labour unrest is driven by workers themselves, but increasingly receives support from trade unions. Relying hitherto mainly on the ability to act collectively (associational power) and to mobilie public support for their cause (societal power), trade unions through their political and legal experiences add a further dimension to the power resources available. Issues driving unrest are not necessarily linked to novel characteristics of platform work. In most cases and regions, they have their source in »classic« conflicts of distributional quality like pay and working conditions. Employment relations and health protection under the Covid-19 pandemic add, however, to the urgency of finding solutions to the causes of workers‘ unrest.

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