ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Labour Laws for Gig Workers in the Context of Labour Law Reforms

In an attempt to incorporate the doctrine of universalisation of social security, the gig workers are brought into the ambit of the labour laws for the first time, with the provision of some welfare measures under the Code on Social Security, 2020. The three other codes are silent on the policies towards gig workers. While the codes are yet to be implemented, there are many questions pertaining to the clarity of the codes and how to implement them effectively to meet the intended objectives.

Before the Gig Economy

Studying Delhi’s radio taxi industry, this paper traces the transitional process of traditional taxi services in the capital to radio taxi services and finally to the current app-based taxi aggregators. The radio taxi companies ruptured old kinship ties and informal relations with a combination of technology, surveillance, and finance—a process app-based taxi aggregators have further refined. There is also an account of the labour struggles in the industry that preceded the advent of the platform economy.

The Macro Frames of Microwork

Based on a qualitative study of women microworkers on Amazon Mechanical Turk, this paper explores the gendered modus operandi of global platform capitalism. For women from households negotiating caste and class status in small-town South India, digital labour platforms like AMT are the optimal choice; an answer to both economic necessity and familial validation. Women must, however, endure the platform’s coercive disciplining, striving to meet its unknowable metrics. With the pandemic, even as they are forced to contend with the oppressive precarity of digital labour—reducing job availability, falling pay, longer hours and the risk of suspension—work on AMT, paradoxically, becomes non-negotiable. The artificial intelligence-based regimes of the platform economy urgently need a norm shift towards gender equality and redistributive justice.

Between Precarity and Flexibility

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham, UK, Cambridge and Medford: Polity Press, 2020; pp ix + 182, £14.99.

Gig Work and Platforms during the COVID-19 Pandemic in India

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted workers globally. This article attempts to highlight the impact that the pandemic-lockdown and its subsequent cautious relaxation in India had on geographically tethered on-demand gig workers.

Have Uber and Ola Met Promises Made to Drivers and Commuters?

Workers' calls for governmental regulation on minimum wages and social security provisions for drivers continue to be sidestepped by Ola, Uber and other taxi aggregators.

Formalising the Informal

The article “Tech in Work: Organising Informal Work in India” (EPW, 20 May 2017) by Aditi Surie fails to critically examine the tall claims made by platform economy companies like Uber and Ola. A field study in Mumbai points towards the increasing precarity for drivers therein, in stark contrast to the claims of these companies of “formalising the taxi system,” instituting transparency and regulation, and creating the new category of “driver–entrepreneur.”
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