Read our new paper on Fairwork principles and legal standards in South Africa

Posted on 23.07.2020

The overwhelming majority of the world’s gig workers are classified by platforms as independent contractors. This means they fall outside the kind of social protections that have come to define a standard employment relationship, such as entitlement to holiday, parental and bereavement leave, sick pay, and due process for dismissal. As a consequence, gig workers commonly experience poor conditions, low pay, job insecurity, and a lack of bargaining power.

The five principles of Fairwork set an independent benchmark which gig workers and consumers can use to push for platforms to provide the kinds of rights and protections that other workers benefit from. However, there is also a need for legally binding standards of fair work to be applied to the gig economy.

A new paper by the Fairwork team in the Kings Law Journal draws on the expertise of labour lawyers from the Universities of Oxford and the Western Cape, as well as Fairwork social scientists in the UK and South Africa, to explore how the five principles of Fairwork can interact with and complement regulatory change in South Africa, in order to advance decent work for South African platform workers.

Thinking Out of the Box: Fair Work for Platform Workers is authored by Sandra Fredman, Darcy du Toit, Mark Graham, Kelle Howson, Richard Heeks, Jean-Paul van Belle, Paul Mungai and Abigail Osiki.