Consumers in Brazil demand better working conditions for platform workers – New Poll finds

Posted on 01.05.2022
What do Brazilians think of the platform economy?

7 out of 10 São Paulo citizens would stop using delivery and transport apps that fail to offer decent pay and working conditions for workers, says new poll 

A new poll released today has found that 93% of people in São Paulo believe that platform workers deserve better protections and pay.

The survey, conducted by Locomotiva on behalf of the Fairwork project, polled 1,021 adults in Sao Paulo between the 31 March and 11 April.

The poll results show that the overarching majority of São Paulo citizens are ready to take direct action against the exploitation of platform workers: 7 out of 10 respondents would stop using apps that do not guarantee decent working conditions and remuneration for workers.  

Most people asked (64%) consider that platform workers are not paid a fair wage. An even larger majority (84%) consider it unfair for these apps to punish workers with blocks and cancellations without adequate justification.

These results match findings from the recent report by the Fairwork Brazil team, which found all major apps (Uber, iFood, 99, Rappi, UberEats and GetNinjas) failed to evidence that they meet minimum labour standards such as offering a fair wage or protections from deactivations.  

The findings also show that:  

  • 8 out of 10 people (82%) consider strikes by app workers fair.  
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 (87%) think digital platforms should be forced to listen and negotiate with groups representing workers. 
  • 87% think apps should be regulated by the government to provide basic protections for couriers and drivers. 
  • One third of respondents (31%) believe that no political party represents the interests of workers on transport and delivery apps. 

The poll found more than half of Paulistanos (53%) think these companies do not respect current labour laws. In response, 87% support further regulations by the government to provide basic protections for couriers and drivers. This support crosses political lines, with members of all parties agreeing that current regulations are insufficient.  

Organisations are also increasingly moving away from hiring services from platforms with bad working conditions. Earlier this year, Fairwork released a Pledge for companies, charities, local governments, universities and other large institutions so that they can commit to working with fairer platforms and leveraging their buying power to improve conditions across the platform economy. So far more than 20 organisations in 7 countries have signed the pledge.

Rafael Grohmann, Principal Investigator of Fairwork Brazil and professor at Unisinos University, said:    

“The poll results show that São Paulo citizens are very aware of the often-exploitative conditions to which platform workers are subject. These conditions were also evidenced in our latest Fairwork Ratings for Brazil, which found that all six studied platforms failed to meet basic labour standards in two or more of the following areas: fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management and fair representation. At the same time, the poll shows that the large majority of citizens supports initiatives for fairer platforms work, such as stronger regulation or workers’ strikes. It should therefore be in the interest of all apps to take actions to actively improve conditions for their workers. The large majority of citizens also support platform regulation by governments. This is also an opportunity for policy makers to highlight this issue as soon as possible in Brazil.”  

In light of the low platform scores in Brazil and the overwhelming support from consumers, Mark Graham, Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute and Director of the Fairwork Project called platforms and organisations to take action:  

“The poll results are an important indicator that engaging in a race to the bottom when it comes to labour standards is not a viable strategy for platforms. Consumers not only care about price but also about doing the right thing. Digital platforms who ignore the fact that consumers care about working conditions not only put their workers at risk, but also put their entire business strategy at risk. We call upon organisations in Brazil to further express their support for fair platform work by joining the Fairwork Pledge and thus sending a strong signal to platforms that business strategies based on worker exploitation won’t pay off in the long term.”   

Renato Meirelles, president of Locomotiva Institute said:

“Considering the image that the population has regarding the condition of delivery workers, it is essential to deepen the dialogue between platforms and workers in order to reconcile the generation of economic opportunities with the demands existing in the daily lives of delivery workers”. 

Want to know more? Join the movement for a fairer platform economy!


Polling methodology: 

The study, carried out by Locomotiva Research Institute at the request of the Fairwork project, interviewed 1,021 people from the state of São Paulo between March 31 and April 11.

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