Bama Athreya – Advancing Decent Work in the Platform Economy – 23 September International Conference

Bama Athreya, Economic Inequality Fellow at the Open Society Foundations and producer of The Gig Podcast, introduces an international conference to be held on Wednesday 23 September which will look at international strategies for decent work in the platform economy. The Gig Economy Project will be participating in the event.

This series of articles concerning the Gig Economy in the EU was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Lipman-Miliband Trust

Picture by Simple FX

Open Society Foundations, Reshaping Work and Cornell University’s ILR Worker Institute are partnering to host a virtual workshop on September 23 to discuss cross-cutting strategies for regulatory reform to advance decent work in the ‘gig’ economy. 

Why this event at this time?  Globally, platform workers, in particular those in the ride-hailing and delivery sectors, have begun to organise and form cross-border strategies.  Municipal and regional governments are also increasingly aware of the negative consequences of an unregulated ‘gig’ economy in these sectors.  At national levels, governments are beginning to take account of the extent to which digital companies’ data monopolisation practices have created new forms of unfair competition, and workers themselves are demanding access to their data. New policy and regulatory approaches are being proposed at subnational levels. This conference will explore the possibility of international linkages to support these new approaches, bringing together experts, advocates, platform workers, labour organisers and practitioners from the US, Europe, Australia and beyond.

Three broad and interrelated regulatory challenges will be explored. First, what are the data governance challenges with respect to worker data, for workers and for regulators? Second, what elements of antitrust/competition policy need to be addressed to create space for platform business models that support decent work? Third, what are the labour and employment law challenges and where do our industrial relations frameworks need updating for platform work? 

Given the challenges of convening advocates and policy makers at this time, the event sponsors will be recording the opening panel and forming a short report of its outcomes to share with a broader audience in the near future.  In addition, the event will be an input toward a two-day conference to be hosted by Cornell ILR Worker Institute later in the year.

For full details and to express your interest in participating click here.

Program (in Central European Time)

14:00 Welcome & Rules of engagement

8:10 Keynote speech: Regulatory challenges from worker perspective Debra Weddall, National Secretary, Rideshare Drivers Network (Australia)

14:20 – 14:50 Panel discussion: Platform Workers’ rights & policy challenges – What’s the way forward?

Edward Ongweso, Panel Moderator; Journalist, VICE

James Farrar, Founder, Worker Info Exchange

Meera Joshi, Former NY Taxi and Limousine Commissioner; New York General Manager, Sam Schwartz 

Valerio De Stefano, Professor of Labor Law, KU Leuven

Zephyr Teachout, Associate Law Professor, Fordham Law School

15:00 Breakout sessions (1 hour)  

         Breakout 1:  Role of worker organizations in data governance         

         Breakout 2:  Role of government in data stewardship for decent work

         Breakout 3:  Changing competition policy to enable decent work 

         Breakout 4:  Updating labour and employment law for the digital economy

16:00 – 16:20 Debrief & Closing

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