Ecuador joins the Fairwork project

Posted on 05.10.2020

Meet the team applying Fairwork’s rating system to labour platforms in Ecuador

In Ecuador, the COVID-19 emergency has made evident the deepening of social fractures resulting from increased inequality and the deterioration of labour regulation and protection frameworks in recent decades. These fractures are even worse in activities linked to the gig-economy which already lacked regulatory frameworks and labour protection mechanisms before the crisis. With almost the entire population locked up in their homes, platform workers have become part of the so-called “essential workers”, but unlike doctors, police and other officials, they do not have any kind of social, medical or unemployment protection. With many lacking other sources of income and belonging to highly-vulnerable groups, such as migrants, gig workers are exposed on a daily basis to the possibility of infection with little or no protection and without adequate remuneration. Over the past months, workers all across Latin America have organised protests to claim better conditions, but the lack of regulations and clear channels of dialogue with the platforms make their demands invisible. This crisis has highlighted the urgency of implementing well-informed actions that ensure fair work conditions for platform workers in Ecuador.

We believe the Fairwork framework can play a key role in helping to identify best and worst labour practices in the platform economy, and thus provide the basis for improving the conditions of workers in Ecuador. To this end, our new team in Ecuador will be undertaking surveys with gig workers in order to rate the working conditions in the country’s most popular labour platforms. These findings will provide unprecedented evidence to develop public awareness and encourage government and social action.

The Ecuador team is comprised of María Belén Albornoz and Henry Chávez. María is a Professor-Researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO-Ecuador) and Coordinator of the Science, Technology and Society Laboratory (CTS-LAB) who will lead the research strategy in Ecuador. Henry, researcher and professor at FLACSO and the Catholic University of Ecuador, will be the co-investigator for Fairwork Ecuador.

We are very excited to welcome the Ecuador team to the project and will be sharing further updates about their research very soon.