Labor Unrest and the Future of Work: Global Struggles Against Food Delivery Platforms

Mark Stuart, Vera Trappmann, Ioulia Bessa, Simon Joyce, Denis Neumann and Charles Umney (2023), Labor Studies Journal

Labor struggle and workers’ collective agency are central concerns of labor studies researchers. Such an appreciation seems particularly apposite given contemporary debates around the future of work. As Schulze-Cleven and Vachon (2021) note, much future of work debate has been inscribed by technological and market fundamentalism. The actions and experiences of workers are often absent from a narrative that instead tends to focus on predicting the extent of technology-driven job destruction or state policies that help workers navigate a future of profound industrial transformation. Against this, Schulze–Cleven and Vachon’s edited volume stands as an important corrective, offering an analytical approach that revalues labor within a human-centered future of work that extends beyond a purely technological focus to also incorporate environmental change and social reproduction. This symposium contribution builds on Schulze–Cleven and Vachon’s analytical approach to focus on labor struggles internationally in the platform economy.

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