The Fairwork Nigeria 2023 report, launched today 27 July, rating platforms like Glovo, Uber, Bolt, Mano and others, highlights the pressing insecurity faced by platform workers in the Nigerian platform economy. The report reveals that platform work carries inherent risks as workers often find themselves in potentially dangerous situations; these include encounters with robbers, road accidents, harassment by law enforcement agents, and the threat of kidnappers. Despite the high level of insecurity experienced on the job, platform workers exhibit remarkable courage as they navigate these dangers to earn a living.
The report sheds light on the dire socioeconomic conditions in Nigeria, with the National Bureau of Statistics reporting that 84 million Nigerians are trapped in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.9 per day. Additionally, 133 million people, equivalent to 63 percent of the country’s population, experience multidimensional poverty.1 Many platform workers view their work as a means to escape hardship, yet evidence from the study indicates that most workers are not satisfied with platform work. This could be due, in part, to the fact that majority of platform workers struggle to earn the Nigerian minimum monthly wage of N30,000 ($29) after accounting for costs which by global standards is very low.
In this second report by the Fairwork Nigeria project, 12 platforms (Bolt, Bolt Foods, Chow Deck, Glovo, Gokada, Indrive, Jumia Food, Kwik, Lagos Ride, Mano, Uber, and Rida) were evaluated based on five principles of Fairwork. The 2023 Fairwork scores for Nigeria range from zero to three (out of ten), showing the spread in working conditions on the 12 digital labour platforms analysed. These varying scores reflect the policies and management practices the platforms have in place. For the second year in a row, Glovo ‘tops’ the list, this time with three points, while Mano scored 1 point. The other platforms received a score of 0, because we were unable to prove that they meet any of the minimum standards of Fairwork in view to the responses from platform workers and the lack of adequate evidence from the platforms.
Fair Pay: For the first point, we found evidence that only two out of 12 platforms (Glovo and Mano) could evidence their workers earn the minimum wage of N30,000 ($34.6), or the implied minimum wage per hour of N173.08, after work-related costs. It is important to note that Mano pays its riders a fixed income of N50,000 monthly in addition to other performance-related commissions that increase their earnings, which is a good practice in the Nigerian platform economy. For the second point, we could not find evidence for any of the platforms that all their workers earn the local living wage of N191,909 ($64.3) after work-related costs.
Fair Conditions: For the first point, we could not find sufficient evidence that any of the platforms had policies in place to effectively protect workers against risks arising from their work. While some platforms such as Glovo, Bolt, Uber, Lagos Ride, Chow Deck, Mano provided certain measures such as safety training and SOS buttons to mitigate risks and protect workers, we did not find enough evidence that these applied to all workers on their platform. Insecurity remains pervasive in the Nigerian platform economy and platforms are not doing enough to protect workers. For the second point, in none of the cases did we find evidence that platforms provide income security to their drivers in the case of sickness or inability to work.
Fair Contracts: For the first point, only one platform (Glovo) could provide sufficient evidence that its terms and conditions are clear and transparent, and subject to Nigerian law.
For the second point, we did not find sufficient evidence that all the platforms ensured that there were no unfair clauses in the terms and conditions, which exclude them from liability concerning the working relationship.
Fair Management: For the first point, only one of the 12 platforms (Glovo) evidenced the provision of due process for decisions affecting workers. It also showed effective communication channels and an appeal process in instances where workers have been deactivated from the platform.
None of the 12 platforms were awarded the second point for fair management. While Glovo and Uber have anti-discrimination policies, we could not find sufficient evidence for any of the platforms having proactive policies that are inclusive of disadvantaged groups, or clarity on how algorithms are used to determine work and remuneration.
Fair Representation: For the first point, we did not find sufficient evidence on all 12 platforms that demonstrate that they ensure freedom of association and collective worker voice.
For the second point, we could not find sufficient evidence that any of the platforms have formally and publicly recognised an independent collective body of workers or trade union. In addition, we could not sufficiently show evidence that platform workers play meaningful roles in contributing to decisions affecting their work; nor are there mechanisms to facilitate collective bargaining.
The Fairwork Nigeria 2023 report calls for immediate action to address the security concerns plaguing the Nigerian platform economy. Key aspects of combating insecurity in platform work include an emphasis on safety training, the provision of risk mitigating strategies, and effective measures against working alone. This report urges platforms to prioritize improving the working conditions of platform workers by enabling effective safety measures and safety nets for workers, establishing better communication channels, raising awareness about available security measures, and recognising worker collectives and groups. By addressing these critical issues, the Nigerian platform economy can enhance the well-being and security of its workforce and foster an environment conducive to sustainable and equitable growth.
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About the research
The report was funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The findings are based on desk research and interviews with platform workers and managers in Lagos Nigeria between February and May 2023.
Fairwork is an action-research project coordinated by the Oxford Internet Institute and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Through a global network of researchers, Fairwork evaluates the working conditions on digital platforms and ranks them based on five principles of fair work. The five Principles of Fairwork were developed through an extensive literature review of published research on job quality, stakeholder meetings in Geneva (involving platform operators, policymakers, trade unions, and academics), and in-country meetings with local stakeholders. Globally, Fairwork collaborates closely with workers, platforms, advocates, and policymakers to envision and build a fairer future of work. See here for a list of collaborating institutions.