We are delighted to announce that Lagos Business School (LBS) has joined Fairwork, a global research project. Based at the Oxford Internet Insitute and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Fairwork is dedicated to promoting equity and fairness in the emerging platform economy, also known as the gig economy.
Over the next two years, Prof. Olayinka David-West, Kemi Ogunyemi, Amaka Anozie, and Chinyere Emeshie, supported by members of the LBS community, will implement the Fairwork project in Nigeria by evaluating working conditions in the Nigerian gig economy.
The gig economy is having a significant impact on the way Nigerians live and work. Ride-hailing and package delivery platforms have eased logistics, both for people moving around and for transporting goods (i.e. food, groceries, medicine, and other items) to various locations. Such delivery services include business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C). Ride-hailing is also helping to reduce Nigeria’s overall carbon footprint and enhancing environmental sustainability by reducing the number of vehicles on the road. But despite these positive impacts of the gig economy, there remain significant issues in the treatment of workers.
According to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a person is deemed underemployed if they work less than 40 hours per week. With a Q4 2020 unemployment rate of 33% (up to 42% amongst young people of 15 – 34 years) the pace at which gig work opportunities are being adopted in Nigeria is not surprising. Freelancing was already gaining ground as a preferred way of working for many even before COVID-19. The pandemic (especially the movement restrictions of the “lockdown” periods) heightened the adoption of this type of work, given that it transcended location-based gig work and public demand for the delivery economy gained importance.
Yet, the Nigerian job market is still very much an employer’s market for gig workers, especially as they are not classified as employees, but rather independent contractors, and are therefore excluded from the protections of the country’s labour laws.
The Fairwork Nigeria team aims to awaken gig economy employers to their moral duty to treat all their workers with justice and fairness, and provide fair working conditions. The objectives of the project are to raise awareness of ethical concerns about gig workers’ situation, engage stakeholders and foster dialogue among them, influence employers to improve the treatment of their workers, and encourage companies to join the Fairwork Pledge.
In the long run, the insights from Fairwork Nigeria reports and research projects will contribute to policymaking regarding gig work and secure the extension of labour laws to cover gig workers in Nigeria.