I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute on the Fairwork project, which highlights best and worst labour practices in the global platform economy.


I am originally from the rust belt of New York State, though have lived in London for over a decade. I have been actively involved in trades-unions and labour movement for over fifteen years. In addition to my work at Oxford, I am a member of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association and a contributor to the future of work group at the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence. I have been published in Tribune, Novara, Vice, Open Democracy, The Independent, Salvage, Work, Employment and Society and Review of Political Economy.

Research interests

My academic interests are interdisciplinary, spanning human resource management, industrial relations, the political economy of work, economic geography and technological change. My current research explores how technological change, specifically platformisation, datafication and AI systems intersect with problems of unpaid labour and wage theft. Questions concerning the impact of new technologies on working life and how workers organise for better conditions are central to my research. I am also keen on developing policy responses to emerging problems at the national and supranational scale.

Research articles

Cole, M., Stuart, M., Hardy, K. and Spencer, D. (Forthcoming). ‘Wage Theft and the Struggle over the Working Day in Hospitality Work: A Typology of Unpaid Labour-Time’. Work, Employment & Society. https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/186163/3/Wage%20Theft%20-%20WES%20revision%20Two%20Final.pdf.

Howson, K., Ustek Spilda, F., Bertolini, Alessio, Heeks, R., Ferrari, Fabian, Katta, S., Cole, M., Aguera Reneses, P., Salem, N., Steward, S., Graham, M. and Sutcliff, D. (2021). ‘Stripping back the mask: Working conditions on digital labour platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic’. International Labour Review. (Covid-19 and the World of Work). https://doi.org/10.1111/ilr.12222

Book chapters

Cole, M., Radice, H. and Umney, C. (2021). ‘The Political Economy of Datafication and Work: A New Digital Taylorism?’ In: Socialist Register 2021: Beyond Digital Capitalism: New Ways of Living. New York, New York: Monthly Review Press. https://socialistregister.com/index.php/srv/article/view/34948.

Cole, M. (2018). ‘Exploitation’. In: A. Pendakis, I. Szeman, and J. Diamanti (eds.). The Bloomsbury Companion to Marx. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 303–10. http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781474278737.ch-032.

Policy publications

Fairwork (2021). Fairwork UK Ratings 2021: Labour Standards in the Gig Economy. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford Internet Institute. https://fair.work/wp-content/uploads/sites/131/2021/06/Fairwork-UK-Report-2021.pdf.

Spencer, D., Cole, M., Joyce, S., Whittaker, X. and Stuart, M. (2021). Digital automation and the future of work. Brussels: European Parliament. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/stoa/en/document/EPRS_STU(2021)656311 (accessed5 February 2021).

Ustek-Spilda, F., Ferrari, F., Cole, M., Aguera Reneses, P. and Graham, M. (2021). The Infrastructural Power of Platform Capitalism. In: Social Europe Publishing in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, pp. 1–7. https://www.socialeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Dossier_Transformation_of_Work.pdf.

Kelle, H., Callum, C., Alessio, B., Matthew, C. and Mark, G. (2021). Protecting workers in the UK platform economy. Oxford: Fairwork. https://fair.work/wp-content/uploads/sites/131/2021/12/Fairwork-UK-Policy-Brief.pdf.

Cole, M. and Bertolini, A. (2021). ‘A new terrain of struggle: from platform work to Fairwork’. In: TUC (ed.). Seven ways platform workers are fighting back. Trades Union Congress, pp. 48–52. https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-11/PlatformEssaysWithPollingData2.pdf.

Other publications

Cole, M. (2021). The Wage Theft Epidemic. Tribune Magazine. Available at: https://tribunemag.co.uk/2021/11/wage-theft-karl-marx-capitalism-workers-bosses-labour

Cole, M, (2021) How Value Weaponises the Machine. Verso blog. (available at: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/5068-how-value-weaponises-the-machine)

Cole, M. (2020). Automation Will Create More Jobs, But Most Will Be Shit. Novara Media. Available at: https://novaramedia.com/2020/10/05/automation-will-create-more-jobs-but-most-will-be-shit/