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Open access

Robert Cameron

The chapter briefly contextualises developments in terms of broader macro-changes in South Africa and then looks at the capacity of the Department of Labour (DoL) to enforce labour relations legislation. It focuses specifically on identifying the problems and obstacles it faces in implementing the performance management system. The DoL has an extremely well-developed performance management system where all members of the department, including the Minister, have their performance evaluated. Legislation has also been put in place to improve the efficiency of the labour inspectorate. The department has reduced the number of performance indicators and made the indicators more strategic. The verification of data has improved, and despite its limitations, the operation of the manual case management system has also improved. Notwithstanding this, the DoL has struggled to meet its performance targets. The main reasons for this have been staff shortages and underqualified inspectors.

Open access

Kingshuk Sarkar

During the last decade and half, India has witnessed significant changes in the world of work. There has been a large-scale informalization of the labour force and corresponding growth of non-standard employment, an increase in decent work deficits, a decline in social dialogue and tripartism, a weakening of trade unions, and a shift in focus from enforcement of labour laws to facilitation of business processes. Labour administration has also undergone a remarkable transformation, which includes increasing use of technology, a greater focus on skill development and employment generation, the introduction of social security and welfare schemes, and amendments of certain provisions of labour laws. In the process, the role of labour administration in India has undergone changes which are administrative in nature and, unlike earlier, not an outcome of rigorous social dialogue and tripartite consultation process. A state vis-à-vis citizen client relationship has already replaced the erstwhile tripartite structure. This chapter will examine these issues.

Open access

Cora Arias, Nicolás Diana Menéndez and Julieta Haidar

This article presents the results of a study conducted in Argentina during 2018 and 2019. The study engages in the debates around the possibilities for collective organization of platform workers. In particular it analyses the characteristics of the labour process on delivery platforms in the city of Buenos Aires: Rappi, Glovo, and PedidosYa. In addition, is describes the specific features of the Argentinian union model and on the basis of different dimensions of analysis, two traditions that have characterized Argentinian unionism are constructed schematically. In the light of these union traditions, we analyse the actions developed by the two unions representing the interests of riders: ASIMM, the pre-existing union that represents couriers, and APP, a union set up to specifically defend platform workers.

Open access

Kurt Vandaele

This chapter makes the argument that labour agency in the platform economy in Europe has given rise to a plethora of new informal and formal organisations for mutual aid and worker representation. This organisational experimentation is commonly initially based on digital online communities. Their further offline development is rather uneven, however, as it is informed by the type of platform work the workers engage in and the power resources available to them (or simply because the current structure is efficient enough for fulfilling the platform workers' purposes). Nevertheless, these bottom-up initiatives point to recurrent patterns in labour-capital dynamics. Some new organisations, in terms of scale, structure or development, recall the kinds of worker organisations that appeared at the end of the nineteenth century. Most but not all of these new organisations have oriented themselves towards a logic-of-membership approach. In many instances, this approach might be complementary with the logic-of-influence approach favoured by today's mainstream trade unions. Building alliances between the 'new' and 'old' could reinforce the countervailing power of platform workers and their struggle for regulatory change in the platform economy.

Open access

Graciela Bensusán and Héctor Santos

The expansion of digital platforms opened up employment opportunities for those who had been unable to access formal jobs with living wages. However, these are informal jobs, considered by the platforms as self-employment, in a regional context in which there are no universal social security systems with coverage independent of employment status. The nature of the platforms and the work they generate gave rise to an intense debate in developed countries, which gained strength in Latin America. In this chapter we argue that there is no single solution to the problems derived from working on platforms and that the choice made will depend, among other factors, on the capacity of the state and social actors to regulate them and prevent them from contributing to increasing informality. To develop these ideas, the situation of the labour markets is analysed, the available evidence on platform work in some countries of the region is reviewed, and the different approaches and alternatives of regulation and public intervention are presented, including those arising from labour legislation and judicial interpretations.

Open access

Simon Joyce and Mark Stuart

To date, an over-emphasis of control in platform work research has led to platform worker resistance being correspondingly downplayed and under-theorised. This chapter aims to redress the balance. Through an application of labour process theory, we demonstrate that patterns of platform worker resistance are linked to particular platform management methods of control. Theoretically, we argue that the control-resistance dynamic within capitalist labour processes means that specific management control measures are likely to generate corresponding patterns of worker resistance. Empirically, we show how patterns of platform worker resistance are driven and shaped in response to particular aspects of platform control methods. Consequently, labour process theory provides an explanation for the nature and dynamics of platform worker resistance, as well as its scale and persistence.

Open access

José Luis Daza

The objective of this chapter is to describe and evaluate the challenges confronted by national systems of labour administration since the adoption of the Labour Administration Convention (No.150) in 1978. While the impact of labour legislation and social policies have received considerable attention, few studies have focused on the organization and operation of labour administrations. The administrative procedures related to labour, employment and social security have also been the object of analysis and scrutiny, but habitually limited to problems related to their complexity, length and cost. This chapter presents a detailed account of these issues, examining the development of labour administration concerns and institutions over time and drawing on a variety of sources, in particular documents produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Open access

Edited by Jason Heyes and Ludek Rychly

Open access

Wing-Fai Leung, Premilla D'Cruz and Ernesto Noronha

This chapter presents a comparative study of Chinese and Indian freelancers who use the crowdsourcing platform Upwork. It examines (a) the extent to which online freelance work in developing economies represents 'decent work', and (b) how freelancers' participation in the global digital platform economy can be understood through the lens not just of neo-liberalism but also of the new international putting-out system of labour (NIPL), a concept we put forward to mean that digital work platforms can put out work from big firms, small businesses and individual clients directly to individual workers and small enterprises who telework from anywhere in the world. NIPL reverses the movement of work from home-based artisanal workshops to factories, as was evident during the industrial era, back to individuals in the current period of globalisation. Nonetheless, like the pre-industrial system, NIPL eliminates or reduces employers' costs, provides product market flexibility and stalls workers' collective action.

Open access

Vili Lehdonvirta, Isis Hjorth, Helena Barnard and Mark Graham

We examine how geography shapes workers' pay rates in the global platform economy, using transaction data from a major online labour platform and quotes from interviews to motivate and illustrate the quantitative analyses. Approximately 35 percent of variation in workers' pay rates is attributable to differences between their home countries, with workers from richer countries earning more. Our exploratory analyses suggest that this is not because of country differences in worker competence, but because workers from lower-income countries have fewer local labour market opportunities and are therefore willing to accept lower-paid gigs online. We also find that clients' perceptions of workers' home countries can explain a significant part of the variation in pay rates, though we do not rule out alternative explanations. We draw comparisons to disadvantages faced by emerging-economy firms seeking to break into international markets, and to immigrants entering host country labour markets, and discuss implications to development policy and platform design.