In Uber v Aslam, decided in December 2018, the UK Court of Appeal has held that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ for the purposes of the national minimum wage and paid holidays. This constitutes a small step towards the goal of decent work for Uber drivers in London, and it is to be hoped that the Supreme Court will uphold the decision. However, in an article published in the Industrial Law Journal on 21 May 2019, FairWork co-investigators Sandra Fredman and Darcy du Toit point out that the decision underscores yet again the fragility of using the […]
A fair level of pay for platform workers means going beyond a minimum wage to see those workers paid a living wage. But what is a living wage; what justifies its payment; and – as a guide to Fairwork’s activity in South Africa – what level should it be set at?
What is a Living Wage?
A living wage is remuneration sufficient for a basic but decent standard of living for a worker and his/her family. “Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing, and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected […]
A paper on the Fairwork project was one of three papers shortlisted for the best paper award at the German Internet Institute (the Weizenbaum Institute’s) annual conference – held in May 2019 in Berlin, Germany. This paper, was authored by Mark Graham, Richard Heeks, Jamie Woodcock, Sandy Fredman, Darcy du Toit, Jean-Paul van Belle, Paul Mungai and Abigail Osiki. You can download it at the link below:
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 […]
Zum diesjährigen Tag der Arbeit hat Katarina Barley, Bundesjustizministerin und SPD-Spitzenkandidatin im Europawahlkampf, die Einführung einer EU-Richtline für faire Plattformarbeit gefordert. Dafür brauche es “verbindliche Mindeststandards für die Vergütung, und für den Arbeits- und Gesundheitsschutz”. Außerdem müssten geltende Mitbestimmungsregeln eingehalten werden, um die Entstehung eines „digitalen Prekariats“ zu verhindern, so Barley. Jedoch ließ die Ministerin offen, wie diese Mindeststandards in der Praxis aussehen könnten und wie genau Plattformen sanktioniert werden können, wenn sie diese Regeln nicht einhalten.
Genau hier setzt die „Fairwork Foundation” an. Nach erfolgreichen Pilotstudien in Südafrika und Indien dehnen wir das Projekt nun auf […]
University of Oxford academics have published the world’s first ever rating system for working conditions in the digital economy.
The rankings look at how platforms like Uber, Taxify, and Ola perform against five standards – fair work, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation. These include whether a company pays the minimum wage and ensures the health and safety of its workers.
Professor Mark Graham, Professor of Internet Geography at the University of Oxford, said:
“The Fairwork rating system shines a light on best and worst practice in the platform economy. This is an area in which for […]
We are seeking to appoint a Researcher to work with us at the Fairwork Foundation. This position provides an exciting opportunity to work with our team to co-develop standards of fair work and apply them to digital platforms.
Applicants will have a relevant postgraduate degree in sociology, geography, anthropology, economics, development studies, or related fields. Excellent writing, presentation abilities, and analytical skills are also required. Applicants should be highly organised and able to effectively manage multiple ongoing tasks.
As the successful candidate, you will be based at Fairwork Foundation within the Oxford Internet Institute, and collaborate with Professor Mark Graham […]
In this session we will address the rise of platform work in India. We introduce the Fairwork Foundation—a project designed to use academic research to find ways to support platforms workers and improve conditions. With pilots in Bangalore and South Africa, the project aims to co-develop principles of fair platform work, devise ways of measuring those principles, and ultimately rate platforms in a yearly ranking. The aim of the session is to discuss principles of fair platform in an Indian context, and to collaboratively explore meaningful ways of measuring those principles.
If you are interested in participating in the […]
The Fairwork Foundation is included in Germany’s official Digital Implementation Strategy. Our strategies to advocate for decent digital work are thus now part of the German Government’s roadmap on how to tackle digital transformations in Germany and abroad. The full report is in German and is available at the following link: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/digital-made-in-de
We have launched a revised list of five principles for the Fairwork Foundation. Through continued consultation and collaboration with stakeholders, as well as beginning the ranking process in each country, we have decided to revise the nine principles into a more coherent five. This allows the principles to align closely with the forthcoming ranking criteria, while also reflecting the relative importance of each criteria to the improvement of fairness.
The nine original principles included: Pay, Conditions, Contracts, Equality, Management, Communication, Accountability, Use of Data, and Representation. These have been condensed into five principles of: Pay, Conditions, Contracts, Governance, […]
We are about to launch a new phase of the Fairwork project in South Africa with our colleagues at the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, the University of Manchester, and the University of Oxford. As part of those next steps, we are hiring a full-time 29-month postdoc to work directly with Professor Jean-Paul van Belle (UCT) along with Professor Richard Heeks (Manchester), Jamie Woodcock (Oxford), and myself (Mark Graham, Oxford). We hope to have someone in place at the University of Cape Town as soon as possible so that […]
We hosted two in-country stakeholder meetings for the Fairwork project in July. These meetings were the first part of operationalising the principles for fair platform work that were established at the previous meetings at the ILO and UNCTAD in Geneva in April.
On the 2nd of July, we jointly hosted a workshop ‘Towards Fair Platform Work’ in Johannesburg with Research ICT Africa. This interactive session brought together stakeholders to explore the challenges of fair work, discussing the nine principles and how they could be translated into criteria for assessing platform in […]
There are now over seven million digital ‘platform workers’ that live all over the world, doing work that is outsourced via platforms or apps in the gig economy. Lacking the ability to collectively bargain, platform workers have little ability to negotiate wages and working conditions with their employers who are often on the other side of the world. To respond to that, we are building a ‘Fairwork Foundation’: an organisation that will collaboratively develop principles for fair work to raise standards across the platform economy.
We have begun the process of consultation with key stakeholders, including governments, platform operators, […]
We recently hosted two stakeholder meetings for the Fairwork project. The first was a two-part meeting in Geneva to engage with key stakeholders for the Fairwork project. The second was an event hosted at the re:publica conference in Berlin. These were important steps towards establishing the ‘Fairwork Foundation’, ensuring that we are able to certify platforms by collaboratively engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders.
Before the meetings, we invited contributions via an online form. These inputs were collated, discussed, and augmented at two meetings with stakeholders representing workers, platforms, and policy makers at meetings in April.
The first […]
In an earlier post, I described a new initiative that we recently started: The Fairwork Foundation. The goal of the Foundation is to certify key standards in the platform economy. By setting those standards, and certifying platforms against them, we hope to try to work against a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions. Workers avoid unfair contracts, and platforms and consumers will be able to avoid acting unethically.
To get this right, we’ll need to make sure that we understand what fair work actually means in the gig economy. In other words, what are the standards […]
A network that I am part of – the The Future of Work in Developing Countries initiative – has just put out a new publication titled ‘The Future of Work in the Global South’.
You can download the full publication here. It also contains a piece by my colleagues and I on the potentials of the gig economy in developing countries.
Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, L., Wood., A., Barnard, H., and Hjorth, I. 2018. Could Online Gig Work Drive Development in Lower-income Countries? In Galperin, H., and Alarcon, A. The Future of Work in the Global South. Ottawa: […]
This month, I started work on a new project together with my new colleague Jamie Woodcock: The Fairwork Foundation. With generous funding from GIZ, we will get to spend the next year and a half figuring out how to certify online labour platforms – using leverage from workers, consumers, and platforms to improve the welfare and job quality of digital workers.
Today we also have a new article about the project out (in a new issue of Alternate Routes focused on ‘Social Inequality and the Spectre of Social Justice‘). The article explains […]