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The Gig Economy Project

The Gig Economy Project

By Ben

The Gig Economy Project is a media network for gig workers in Europe, seeking to promote efforts to transform work in the digital age. We publish on the the Brave New Europe website, see here: https://braveneweurope.com/the-gig-economy-project Bike couriers, ‘micro-taskers’, home care workers, & many more who work on-demand in the digital platform economy & have few job protections are at the sharpest edge of capitalist exploitation, but are also providing some of the most creative and powerful forms of resistance in the working class today. This podcast provides insight into that resistance.
Data power in the gig economy: Interview with data expert Jessica Pidoux
Data power in the gig economy: Interview with data expert Jessica Pidoux
They call data the oil of the 21st century. Without it, the digital economy as we know it would grind to a halt. And just like oil, unrefined data is pretty useless - it’s what you do with the data that makes it valuable. What is done with data, and who has power over it, is what preoccupies Jessica Pidoux, director of the NGO PersonalData.IO and a lecturer in the sociology of data at SciencesPo university in Paris. Pidoux has studied the algorithms of match-dating apps like Tinder, finding they re-produce sexist and patriarchal practices. And she has also applied her data techniques to the gig economy, working, along with her colleagues at Hestia Labs, with an Uber driver in Geneva, Switzerland, to analyse his data at work and understand what information the platforms are keeping to themselves, as we wrote about on the Gig Economy Project (GEP) earlier this week. Speaking at an event in the European Parliament in September on alternatives to Uberisation, Pidoux said: “Workers can take back this data power.” In this podcast, GEP speaks to Pidoux to find out more about her critique of data power in the platform economy, what she thinks the alternative is and how she is helping workers build their data power. We discuss: 01:02: Why does data matter and what’s the problem with the status quo? 03:33: The case of Cabify and the Catalan Minister of Transport 07:03: What’s the alternative to a platform-dominated data economy? 09:24: An Uber driver in Geneva’s pursuit of his data 19:20: The Rider’s Law and trade unions accessing the data 22:30: Pidoux’s academic work and Tinder investigation 28:35: How PersonalData.Io can help you access your data
30:26
November 18, 2022
Sweden’s election, the Nordic model and the gig economy - interview w/ GigWatch’s Felix Söderberg & Jacob Lundberg
Sweden’s election, the Nordic model and the gig economy - interview w/ GigWatch’s Felix Söderberg & Jacob Lundberg
Sweden goes to the polls on 11 September, in an election that comes in the midst of Europe’s twin economic and geopolitical crisis, with the war in Ukraine rumbling on and inflation surging across the continent. What could the election mean for Sweden’s gig economy? Sweden has been traditionally associated with strong trade unions and a collaborative relationship with management, in what is called the Swedish model (or ‘the Nordic model’). But the country has been slow in responding to the emergence of the gig economy, and has been the only EU member-state to object to the EU platform work directive, which is currently going through the legislative process. A new report by GigWatch, a non-profit initiative to examine the reality of the gig economy in Sweden, looks at the attitude of Sweden’s main political parties towards the gig economy, and analyses the prospects for regulatory change following the election. To discuss the report, the Gig Economy Project spoke to Felix Söderberg and Jacob Lundberg, trade-union activists and members of GigWatch. We discuss: 01:06: An overview of the gig economy in Sweden 04:20: GigWatch’s research on Sweden’s political parties’ attitudes towards the gig economy 10:04: The EU Platform work directive and the Swedish model - resistance to change 23:10: Gig worker organising and trade unions in Sweden 30:32: The gig economy in Sweden after the election
36:14
August 17, 2022
Why Uber has failed and what's next - interview with Paris Marx
Why Uber has failed and what's next - interview with Paris Marx
The Uber Files revelations have let a thousand questions bloom about this Silicon Valley company that has broken all the rules, accumulated massive power over cities across the globe, but has never achieved a profit, and has so far failed in many of its stated ambitions to transform the transport sector for good. To begin to piece together some answers, the Gig Economy Project spoke to Paris Marx, host of the popular ‘Tech Won’t Save Us’ podcast and author of new book ‘Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation’, published by Verso in July. In this podcast, we discuss: 01:04: Key takeaways from the Uber Files and the reaction to it 12:15: Silicon Valley’s vision for transport and why it has failed 26:55: What changes should we make to the transport system? 34:28: What next for Uber?
38:28
July 26, 2022
'Life is a game': Laura Carrer and Luca Quagliato discuss their film on being a rider in the city
'Life is a game': Laura Carrer and Luca Quagliato discuss their film on being a rider in the city
What is it really like to be a rider in the city? Laura Carrer, freelance journalist on tech and its implications for digital and human rights, and Luca Quagliato, freelance video maker and photographer who previously worked as a rider, explore this theme in an upcoming documentary, which will include footage of riders explaining their reality across Europe and an animation depicting the experience of being a rider. The film will be released early next year on IRPI Media, an Italian investigation news room which has published a series of investigations on platform work in Italy in it’s ‘Life is a Game’ series. In this podcast, Ben Wray, co-ordinator of the Gig Economy Project, met with the two Milanese in Berlin, one of five European cities where they have been filming riders. They discuss: 01:08: Why food delivery? 04:58: The reality of food delivery in Italy 12:08: What they learnt from speaking to riders all across Europe 16:22: The animation part of the documentary, gamification and the role of riders in the city 25:57: How can people see the documentary?
29:25
June 30, 2022
Work and resistance in Germany's platform economy - Interview with Oğuz Alyanak
Work and resistance in Germany's platform economy - Interview with Oğuz Alyanak
Germany is Europe’s largest economy, and it’s also a key site for Europe’s digital labour platforms, both as a major market and a source of venture capital funding for start-up’s in the gig economy. Berlin, in particular, is the second most popular city in Europe for venture capital funding, and is the home of Delivery Hero, one of the world’s largest food delivery platforms, and Gorillas, the first European tech start-up to become a ‘Unicorn’ - achieve a valuation over €1 billion - within a year. And where there is digital labour platforms, there is platform workers. Over the past 18 months, Berlin has been one of the hotbeds of platform worker resistance in Europe, most notably at Gorillas, where workers have dared to shutdown warehouses at a moment’s notice to fight for better working conditions, and established the first Worker’s Council at a food delivery platform. Oğuz Alyanak, a cultural anthropologist at the Technical University of Berlin, has been following all of this through his work as a post-doctorate with Fair Work, the academic-action project which rates digital labour platforms based on how fair there working conditions are. Alyanak was one of the authors of the German Fair Work platform ratings report in March, and has also been actively involved in the movement of food and grocery delivery workers in the city, attending demonstrations and picket lines. The Gig Economy Project caught up with Alyanak in Berlin to get his thoughts on the movement in Berlin and the platform economy in Germany more broadly. In this podcast, we discuss: 01:30: The Berlin food and grocery delivery workers movement 17:12: The recent jobs cuts in the sector 23:30: What’s distinct about Germany’s platform economy? 28:16: The problem of sub-contracting in the platform economy 33:50: The platform economy beyond transport delivery
39:23
June 11, 2022
‘We are still fighting against Macron, only now at the European level’: Interview with Edouard Bernasse of the Collective of Autonomous Platform Delivery Workers (CLAP)
‘We are still fighting against Macron, only now at the European level’: Interview with Edouard Bernasse of the Collective of Autonomous Platform Delivery Workers (CLAP)
France has been the beating heart of many of the great labour disputes of the past, and now it is at the centre of the debate over the future of work in Europe’s digital economy. Last week, the French Parliament passed a ‘social dialogue law’, which President Emmanuel Macron’s government says will provide a basis for ‘independent’ gig workers to negotiate with the food delivery and ride-hail platforms they work for. Opponents on the left have described the law as “the institutionalisation of Uberisation”. Meanwhile, Macron has just taken up the rotating Presidency of the EU Council as it considers the EU Commission’s ‘Platform Work Directive’, which proposed a presumption of employment for platform workers. Macron - widely considered to be an ally of the digital platforms - may use his influence on the council to amend the Directive. Finally, the French Presidential elections are just a few months away, which could have a big impact on what happens next in France’s gig economy. Edouard Bernasse is co-founder and secretary-general of the Collective of Autonomous Platform Delivery Workers (CLAP) in Paris. In this podcast, we discuss: 1:49: Why CLAP? 9:28: The shape of France’s food delivery sector 12:26: Platform worker’s status in France and the ‘social dialogue’ law 31:29: The EU Platform Work Directive and Macron’s role on the EU Council 37:18: France’s Presidential elections and the gig economy
43:17
February 02, 2022
Podcast: The historic Stuart Delivery strike
Podcast: The historic Stuart Delivery strike
The Stuart Delivery strike is the longest ever in the UK’s gig economy. Initially running for 18 days from 6-24 December, it re-started again on 10 January. Starting in Sheffield, the strike spread to six towns and cities across the north of England, and the couriers, members of the IWGB union, plan to continue until their demands for higher pay are met. In this Gig Economy Project podcast we are joined by Khalil Lange, Sheffield Stuart Delivery courier and one of the strike’s leaders, and Jake Thomas, a courier in London and the IWGB’s courier branch secretary. We discuss: 01:12: Lange’s journey to becoming a courier and trade unionist, and how the strike got started 03:21: The spread of the strike and what makes it unprecedented 07:49: The mood of the strikers and the attitude of the company 11:59: Just Eat and sub-contracting 15:00: The dispute over Stuart Delivery’s “linear pay” system 19:58: The current situation on the ground 22:45: The historic significance of the strike 25:19: How can people support the strike?
28:54
January 12, 2022
From Gig Worker to Union Leader – Interview with Alex Marshall
From Gig Worker to Union Leader – Interview with Alex Marshall
The Gig Economy Project spoke to Alex Marshall, President of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and former delivery courier. This podcast was first published 27/01/21. You can read a text version of this interview here. 
38:38
December 21, 2021
Organising gig workers in Belgium: Interview with Martin Willems of ‘United Freelancers’
Organising gig workers in Belgium: Interview with Martin Willems of ‘United Freelancers’
Can self-employed workers help rejuvenate trade unionism in Europe? Martin Willems thinks so. Willems is responsible for the United Freelancers section of the ACV-CSC union, which represents 1.5 million workers in Belgium, and has been at the forefront of efforts to organise gig workers. He made the case at two major gig economy conferences in Brussels at the end of October that unions must take seriously organising all workers, no matter whether they are employees, self-employed or bogus self-employed. The Gig Economy Project spoke to Willems about self-employed unions, the gig economy in Belgium and how to ensure bogus self-employed platform workers get labour rights. This podcast was first published on 08/11/21. You can read the text version of this interview here.
37:09
December 21, 2021
Workers’ inquiry and the global class struggle: interview with Robert Ovetz
Workers’ inquiry and the global class struggle: interview with Robert Ovetz
A burgeoning literature is seeking to understand 21st century capitalism from the perspective of work, the working class and class struggle. This ‘workerism’ tradition, historically associated with Italian marxism in the 1960s, starts from the workplace to identify where workers have power and how they can maximise it. Robert Ovetz is one of those contributing to renewing this tradition of labour research and activism. Ovetz is a lecturer at San Jose State University in California, USA, and is author of ‘When Workers Shot Back: Class conflict from 1877 to 1921’ (2018). He is also editor of the book ‘Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics and Objectives’, published by Pluto at the end of 2020. Ovetz is also assistant editor for an upcoming handbook on the gig economy to be published by Routledge, and is writing a chapter on Proposition 22 in California. The Gig Economy Project’s director Ben Wray spoke to Ovetz about ‘Workers’ inquiry and global class struggle’ and much more in this podcast. This podcast was first published on 07/05/21. To read a text version of this interview, click here.
43:00
December 21, 2021
The pandemic and the gig economy in global perspective: Interview with Kelle Howson
The pandemic and the gig economy in global perspective: Interview with Kelle Howson
How has the pandemic changed the gig economy? The Gig Economy Project spoke to Fair Work researcher Kelle Howson to find out. This podcast was first published on 17/08/21.  To read a text version of this podcast, click here. 
43:12
December 21, 2021
The Gorillas Revolt: Interview with Zeynep Karlıdağ
The Gorillas Revolt: Interview with Zeynep Karlıdağ
The Gig Economy Project spoke to Zeynep Karlıdağ, rider at food delivery company Gorillas and member of the Gorillas’ Workers Collective, about their wave of wildcat strikes and warehouse blockades in Berlin. This podcast was first posted on 20/07/21. You can click here to read a text version of this podcast.
33:22
December 21, 2021
When platforms co-opt gig workers to their cause: Understanding Spain’s anti-labour movement of riders
When platforms co-opt gig workers to their cause: Understanding Spain’s anti-labour movement of riders
Podcast with José Domingo Roselló of the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT), which published a report into the pro-platform, astroturf movement of riders called 'Si, soy autonomo' which is against trade union and workers' rights for food delivery couriers in Spain. This podcast was first published on 01/06/21. You can read the text version of this podcast here.
38:54
December 21, 2021
‘The difference between a slave and a worker’ – interview with Leïla Chaibi MEP
‘The difference between a slave and a worker’ – interview with Leïla Chaibi MEP
Leïla Chaibi, the France Insoumise MEP, who sits on the European Parliament’s ‘committee on employment and social affairs’, published a draft proposal for a Directive on the regulation of platform workers across Europe on behalf of The Left Group in November. The proposal sought to put a marker down to Brussels, as the European Commission – the non-elected body which has power to initiate legislation in the EU – is set to launch a consultation on 24 February for its Directive on the regulation of platform workers. The Directive would be binding on all EU states, and could be a decisive moment in shaping the legal status of gig workers across Europe. The Gig Economy Project spoke to Chaibi about her proposal, expectations for the EU Commission’s Directive, and more. This podcast was first published on 04/02/21. To read a text version of this podcast click here. 
30:02
December 21, 2021
"The battle of ideas is won": Interview with ETUC's Ludovic Voet
"The battle of ideas is won": Interview with ETUC's Ludovic Voet
The Gig Economy Project spoke to the European Trade Union Confederation’s Secretary Ludovic Voet about the EU Commission’s platform work directive, trade union organising in the gig economy, and whether the present moment is one for a revival of trade unionism in Europe. This podcast was first published on 31/10/21. To read a text version of this podcast, click here. 
24:16
December 21, 2021
Why we should fear a Prop-22 law for Europe: Interview with Anne Dufresne
Why we should fear a Prop-22 law for Europe: Interview with Anne Dufresne
Brussels-based Anne Dufresne, co-author of new book "App Workers United - The Struggle for Rights in the Gig Economy", tells the Gig Economy Project that the EU Commission's track record of 'deconstructing the social rights of member-states', means we should expect the worst when it comes to their platform work directive in December. This podcast was originally published on 25/12/21. To read the text version click here.
33:47
December 21, 2021
“Somos aquello que las empresas no quieren que exista”: Entrevista con Nuria Soto de RidersXDerechos
“Somos aquello que las empresas no quieren que exista”: Entrevista con Nuria Soto de RidersXDerechos
Nuria Soto, del movimiento 'RidersXDerechos', dice al Gig Economy Project que la Ley Riders tiene sus problemas pero ha creado una "base para la lucha" más fácil. Publicado por primera vez 30/10/21. Leer este articulo aquí. To read in English, click here.
14:43
December 21, 2021
‘Somos el sindicalismo del futuro’: Entrevista con Alberto ‘Tito’ Álvarez
‘Somos el sindicalismo del futuro’: Entrevista con Alberto ‘Tito’ Álvarez
En este podcast de 9/10/21, el Gig Economy Project habla con el líder de Élite Taxi Barcelona, Alberto ‘Tito’ Álvarez, sobre cómo el sindicato ha sido tan eficaz para mantener a Uber fuera de la capital catalana.  Leer el articulo, aquí. To read in English, click here.
31:37
December 21, 2021