There are now over seven million digital platform workers that live all over the world, doing work that is outsourced via platforms or apps.
Platform work provides essential income and opportunities to many. However, lacking protection from employment law or collective bodies, many platform workers face low pay, precarity, and poor and dangerous working conditions.
Fairwork is committed to highlighting best and worst practices in the emerging platform economy. In a partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), we have brought together platforms, workers, trade unions, regulators, and academics to set global principles for fair work in the platform economy. Those principles have been revised in a series of tripartite workshops in South Africa, India, and Germany. Using those principles, we give every platform a ‘fairness’ score.
Fairwork, at its essence, is a way of imagining a different, and fairer, platform economy than the one we have today. By evaluating platforms against measures of fairness, we hope to not just show what the platform economy is, but also what it can be.
Fairwork draws on the expertise and experience of staff at the University of Oxford, the University of Cape Town, IIITB, the Technical University of Berlin, the University of Manchester, the University of the Western Cape, and WZB in work practices and working conditions on digital labour platforms. Project staff work to translate our principles into measurable thresholds, conduct rigorous research to evaluate platforms against those thresholds, and publish our results in a transparent manner.
If you have any questions about the project, please feel free to get in touch using the links above, or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
- Graham, M, Woodcock, J., Heeks, R., Fredman, S., du Toit, D., van Belle, J-P., Mungai, P., Osiki, A. 2019. The Fairwork Foundation: Strategies for Improving Platform Work. In Proceedings of the Weizenbaum Conference 2019 “Challenges of Digital Inequality – Digital Education, Digital Work, Digital Life” (pp. 1-8). Berlin https://doi.org/10.34669/wi.cp/2.13
- Graham, M. and Woodcock, J. 2018. Towards a Fairer Platform Economy: Introducing the Fairwork Foundation. Alternate Routes. 29. 242-253.
- Graham, M and Shaw, J. (eds). 2017. Towards a Fairer Gig Economy. London: Meatspace Press.