Earlier this year the Fairwork Project launched its third round of yearly ratings for digital platforms in South Africa. The report highlighted the precarious nature of work in the gig economy, with specific focus on how this has been amplified by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Now, Fairwork is looking to engage with organisations across the country in order to gain further support. The call is going out to corporations that are both current users of platform labour and the gig economy, as well as potential users, offering them the chance to demonstrate their public commitment to fairer platform work.
There are multiple ways to pledge support. Universities, schools, businesses, and charities can make a difference by pledging their support for the best labour practices.
Local governments and administrations can support fairer platform work by introducing meaningful regulation that encourages minimum standards for platforms operating in their areas, or which are eligible for public funding.
Socially responsible investors or rating agencies, meanwhile, can help improve the working conditions of gig workers by making sure that they, or their clients, invest only in those platforms that offer better labour standards.
“Bloomberg recently announced that South African has the highest unemployment rate in the world, out of its rating of the 82 countries it monitors. This is a scary statistic, and desperation for employment can lead to an acceptance of unfair working conditions. By launching this pledge, our goal is to create a public support system of organisations who are willing to hold gig work platforms to a standard that ensures fair labour practices,” says Pitso Tsibolane, researcher and one of the Fairwork Project report’s authors.
Fairwork is offering a two-tier system of engagement.
Tier 1: Become a Fairwork Supporter
Corporations can publicly endorse the Fairwork Pledge by putting out a statement on their website, including the Fairwork logo and a link to their website. Fairwork resources can also be made available to staff members, in order to help them decide which platforms to engage with. This includes the Fairwork principles, and the most recent Fairwork ratings in the companies areas of operation.
In turn, Fairwork will list the organisation as a supporter on their website and share the endorsement on social media.
Tier 2: Become a Fairwork Partner
Corporations can endorse the Fairwork Pledge by putting out a statement on their website, including the Fairwork logo and a link to their website. They can alslo Fairwork resources available to staff members, in order to help them decide which platforms to engage with. This includes the Fairwork principles, and the most recent Fairwork ratings in the companies areas of operation.
In addition, they can make a meaningful commitment to support fair platform work through the organisation’s activities.
In turn, Fairwork will list the organisation as a partner on their website including a paragraph about the partnership and the commitment that has been made. They will also feature the partnership on their social media channels, and include the company logo in reports relevant to the organisations area operation. Lastly, the organisation will be granted use of the Fairwork Partner badge in branding and promotional materials.
“We call on organisations to contribute to a fairer future of platform work, demonstrate this support to the wider public, and create meaningful change,” finishes Tsibolane.
To sign up to join the Fairwork Project Pledge visit https://fair.work/en/fw/join-the-pledge-together-for-platform-work/#continue
To view the report Fairwork South Africa Ratings 2021: Labour Standards in the Gig Economy, please visit https://fair.work/wp-content/uploads/sites/131/2021/07/Fairwork-South-Africa-2021-report.pdf .
About the Fairwork Project
There are now over thirty million digital platform workers that live all over the world, doing work that is outsourced via platforms or apps. Platform work provides essential income and opportunities to many. However, lacking coverage from employment law or collective bodies, many platform workers face low pay, precarity, and poor and dangerous working conditions.
Fairwork is committed to highlighting best and worst practices in the emerging gig economy. In a partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), we have brought together gig workers, platforms, trade unions, regulators, and academics to set global principles for fair work in the platform economy. Those principles have been revised in a series of workshops in South Africa, India, and Germany. Using those principles, we give every platform a ‘fairness’ score, out of 10.
Fairwork draws on the expertise and experience of staff at the Universities of Oxford, Cape Town, Manchester, and the Western Cape in evaluating work practices and working conditions on digital labour platforms. Project staff work to translate their principles into measurable thresholds, conduct rigorous research to evaluate platforms against those thresholds, and publish our results in a transparent manner.
Fairwork also seeks to furnish consumers with enough information to be intentional about the platforms they choose to interact with, thus contributing to pressure on platforms to improve their working conditions and their scores. In addition, Fairwork engages with policymakers and government to advocate for extending appropriate legal protections to all platform workers, irrespective of their legal classification.
Finally, and most importantly, they work with workers and workers’ organisations to develop and continually refine their principles to remain in line with their needs. Ultimately, the project aims to support workers in collectively asserting their rights.