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International strike movement in Latin America offers new hope for gig economy resistance – new article

Posted by Kelle Howson, 28.10.2020

In a new article in International Union Rights, Fairwork researchers from Oxford, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile, analyse the recent strike movement organised by app-based food couriers across Latin America.

Covid-19 has further eroded gig workers’ financial and physical security, whilst also demonstrating the essential nature of their work. Because gig workers are not classified as employees, platforms are not held responsible for the dangers they face at work.

Decreasing pay, increased costs and a lack of PPE are among the main issues highlighted by the strikers. The common experience of the pandemic enabled workers in several countries to unite behind powerful social media messages, and common demands for improved labour conditions.

These historic protests represent the first real example of an international, sector-wide, strike movement in the gig economy. Social media organising allowed the coordination of strikes across countries, targeting transnational companies in the sector. These strikes offer renewed hope for a sustained labour resistance and a fairer future of platform work.