Fairwork is very pleased to announce the release of our Annual Report for 2021. A year rocked by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the global economy, 2021 has nonetheless been a year of unprecedented growth for the Fairwork project. With presence now in 26 countries across 5 continents, our researchers have applied the 5 Principles for fair work to study a wide range of gig economy platforms, thus providing an invaluable tool for understanding working conditions in the platform economy.
This report provides an overview of how the Fairwork principles were applied to evaluate 103 platforms all over the world. The Fairwork methodology centres on the experiences and concerns of workers. Our aim is not merely to research working conditions, but to shape policy and dialogue in order to change them for the better.
This year, we’ve published reports for 9 countries and, for the first time, an international report on Cloudwork platforms. For the first time, we released Fairwork ratings for platforms in Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Chile, Ecuador, Kenya and the UK. The India and South Africa reports provide an interesting basis for comparison to previous years and allow us to better understand and chart the impact of Fairwork research.
The 12 academic papers, 9 country reports and 103 platform ratings produced by the Fairwork team this year have yielded 157 pieces of media coverage and resulted in 27 platform changes. In 2021, the Fairwork team has also started new strategies to increase our impact such as the establishment of the Fairwork Observatory and the launch of the Fairwork Pledge. The Fairwork Pledge provides an opportunity for organisations to leverage their consumer power for promoting fairer work in the gig economy, by committing to avoiding platforms with unfair labour practices. Since the launch of the Fairwork Pledge Campaign in May 2021, more than 20 organisations with more than 10,000 employees, members and affiliates have already joined the Fairwork Pledge.
New regulatory initiatives like the EU’s platform work proposal, the numerous new signatories of the Fairwork Pledge and, crucially, the organisation and mobilisation of gig workers across the world represent exciting steps towards fairer working conditions in the platform economy. Despite these significant advances, however, much remains to be done and, in the new year, we will continue striving to reimagine and reshape the platform economy so that it is fairer for all.