Introducing Fairwork Albania! University of Shkodra joins the Fairwork Network

Posted on 04.11.2022
Photo: Elvisa Drishti

Fairwork is excited to announce that the University of Shkodra has joined our global network! Fairwork is committed to highlighting the best and worst working conditions in the platform economy globally and the Fairwork Albania team will be evaluating prominent digital labour platforms in the Albanian context against Fairwork’s five principles of fair work

The Fairwork Albania team will be led by Principal Investigator Elvisa Drishti who, together with her team members, Brikena Kapisyzi Dionizi, Ermira Hoxha Kalaj, and Bresena Dema Kopliku, will implement the Fairwork project in Albania, from the University of Shkodra “Luigj Gurakqi”. 

There has been a rapid increase of precarious employment arrangements as well as non-standard forms of employment, such as informal temporary work, platform work, and gig jobs in Albania over the last five years. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have shaken up the digitalisation of work, particularly in the service sector, with negative ramifications for workers. In consequence, digital labour platforms in Albania are fast coming to represent a significant proportion of all employment.  

The composition of platform work is highly polarised and characterised by very pronounced segmentation. On one hand, there are ‘white collar’ workers who are mainly university or vocational education graduates in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). This group is more digitally literate and this enables them to interact directly with the platforms through their smart phone Apps. On the other hand, there are ‘blue collar’ workers with low or no education, working in elementary jobs, i.e. food delivery and taxi/courier services. This group’s interaction with the platforms is usually intermediated by a secretary or receptionist who prints the order for them to execute or sends it as a WhatsApp or Viber message along with the location of the delivery. 

These newly established modes of working often obfuscate traditional and established job classifications, making it difficult to see whether certain activities are unpaid, what kind of conditions workers are subject to, and, most importantly the extent to which workers’ rights are facing erosion at the hands of platforms.

By researching the Albanian platform economy and rating the working conditions of digital labour platforms, the Albania team will be able to help hold platform companies accountable for unfair practices, enable consumers to make informed choices about the services they use, and provide a strong evidentiary basis for policy makers seeking to regulate practices.