Brave New Europe has always considered the Gig Economy one of the most important and contentious economic developments of our time. Unfortunately it is largely ignored in mainstream media, except as a burgeoning business sector, and by much of academia. But what about the workers in the Gig Economy, the newest model of capitalist exploitation – bike couriers, home-based tele-workers, seasonal fruit and vegetable-pickers, call-centre workers and many others with no job protection?
Ben Wray is leading this project for BRAVE NEW EUROPE, enabling us to provide analysis, updates, ideas, and reports from all across Europe on the Gig Economy. We are keen to find out about and report on these struggles – if you know of or are involved in one in Europe, please get in touch. We are also publishing content from researchers, campaigners, and others who have an interesting perspective to offer on Gig Economy workers in Europe.
This page will be regularly updated with new content, and if you would like to get in touch you can do so by contacting the co-ordinator of the project, Ben Wray (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To support us in our goal of “Giving a voice to the voiceless” the Lipman-Miliband Trust is generously financing a pilot project to develop an information network on how Gig Economy workers are organising themselves, thus supporting them in creating a public exposure that up to now has been denied.
Cycle courier cooperatives are turning technology on the gig economy giants.
The changing face of the gig economy
The Spanish right-wing Popular Party (PP), notorious for its corruption, now runs the regional and city council of Madrid. They are using their new-found power to liberalise the taxi sector in the Spanish capital. Unsurprisingly, the links between senior figures of the PP in Madrid and digital platforms Uber and Cabify run deep, Carlos Rodríguez of Taxi Project 2.0 explains.
El Partido Popular, conocido por su corrupción, ahora dirige los gobiernos regional y municipal en Madrid. Este está utilizando su nuevo poder para liberalizar el sector del taxi en la capital española. Como era de esperar, los vínculos entre las figuras principales del PP en Madrid y las plataformas digitales Uber y Cabify son profundas, explica Carlos Rodríguez de Taxi Project 2.0.
A ‘Complete Reversal’: European Parliament Recommends Equal Rights for Platform Workers in New EU Employment Guidelines
The EU Parliament’s new recommendations on employment protection guidelines are a “complete reversal” of the positions “that have dominated the European institutions for years”, according to its architect. However, the vote is not binding on European institutions. The Gig Economy Project takes a look at the resolution and what it could mean.
Although the Spanish Social Democrats have reneged on their promise to revoke neo-liberal labour laws introduced by the Right, workers and unions in the Basque Country organise to increase workers’ rights.
Following the first Global Workers’ Conference on 24-25 June of the Transnational Workers’ Network (TWN), Carlos Rodríguez Expósito of Taxi Project 2.0 gives his view of the strategy that can be pursued by the network in moving forward.
Después de la primera Conferencia de Trabajadores Globales del 24-25 de junio de la Red de Trabajadores Transnacionales (TWN), Carlos Rodríguez Expósito del Proyecto Taxi 2.0 da su opinión sobre la estrategia que puede seguir la red para avanzar.
The platform giants are organised transnationally, so platform workers need to organise at that level too. The Gig Economy Project previews an important new initiative to co-ordinate platform workers internationally.
The Gig Economy is the exploitation system of the future. That is why corporations are fighting unionisation so vehemently, so that they do not ruin the business model.
The Gig Economy Project looks at how work is changing in Europe three months into the Covid-19 crisis, finding that the combination of corporate lobbyists exploiting the crisis and the growing dominance of the digital sector is accelerating pre-Covid trends towards precariousness.
Carlos Rodríguez Expósito – A Taxi Driver, a Corrupt Spanish Political Class, and International Finance
To understand Coronavirus crisis in Spain, it is essential to understand its history of endemic corruption, in this case of public services, that is driven by politicians guided by Spain’s large financial interests (banks and vulture funds).
The Taxi Project 2.0 has announced a court action today, making a claim to the Spanish Public Prosecutor office that Uber had defrauded the Treasury, in the latest offensive by the Taxi workers’ movement in Spain against the platform giant. The Gig Economy Project reports.
Corona Crisis: ‘We have to fight for our lives while we’re still trying to save other people’s lives’: Interview with UK medical courier Alex Marshall
There’s few more daunting jobs in a pandemic than to be a medical courier. Handling Coronavirus specimens while riding a bike around central London is not fun and games. Medical couriers at The Doctors Laboratory [TDL], a fast growing private healthcare firm in the UK, have been experiencing this on a daily basis for two months, but now they have a new threat to deal with.
The company is looking to make ten of its medical couriers redundant, a cut that is strongly suspected to be motivated by a desire to break the trade union. Alex Marshall, chair of the Industrial Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) Couriers & Logistics Branch, is one of those couriers that has been at the centre of union organising at TDL, and is up for the chop under the muted plans. The IWGB have called a strike ballot among TDL members over the threat to jobs.
The Gig Economy Project spoke to Marshall about TDL, the planned strike and what it has been like to work as a medical courier in London during the Covid-19 crisis.
Alex Foti on May Days past and present.
French trade unions have won a legal action against Amazon over health & safety at work during Covid-19. Ben Wray spoke to Stéphane Enjalran, National Secretary of the Solidaires trade union, which led the court action, about the significance of the court ruling.
In early 2014 taxi drivers in Barcelona rebelled against the unbridled growth of Uber, the online ride service. In six years they have turned that fight into a general offensive against “platform capitalism” in the EU. Alberto Alvarez explains the vehemence.
A principios de 2014, nace en Barcelona un movimiento de taxistas inconformistas. Cansados de que las administraciones y sindicatos del taxi no hicieran nada, y poco a poco se fueron sumando más taxistas.
Ekona Collective, Taxi Project 2.0 – Platforms, Workers’ Organisation, and Covid-19: lessons from Spain
The dynamics of platform economies, how workers are seeking to organise in this new form of capitalist organisation, and how they have responded to the Covid-19 crisis
Until the lockdown shut most of us behind our four walls, a new distinct feature of the European urban environment had become apparent to all. The gig economy couriers. Riders buzzing round street corners with Deliveroo back-packs on and Uber bumper stickers on cars, they have become an emblem of an age of precarious, app-driven work.