- Johannes Kiess, University of Siegen
- Maria M. Mexi, University of Geneva
The workshop is based on a collaborative project funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies and coordinated by Jean-Michel Bonvin (University of Geneva) and will present results from our research in four countries. New work concepts resulting from the digital transformation are revolutionising the world of work. The ‘gig economy’ or ‘sharing economy’ has profound implications for social dialogue and workers’ protection. While some see gigging as a way into the workforce for the hard-to-employ, others portend a pessimistic future of workers with little or no income-security protections. The project seeks to generate a better understanding of how the gig economy is transforming social dialogue and workers’ protection and to provide an integrated picture of its implications for the role of employers, workers, government, and society at large. The research identifies concrete policy options for public policy and social dialogue actors to meet the challenges of the gig economy. Thus, it will contribute to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognises the pivotal role of decent work in realising the 17 Social Development Goals.The three main questions guiding the research are: What are the implications of the gig economy for employment arrangements, social protection, and for social dialogue and labour relations in different sectors and countries? How can the technological and business-model innovation of the gig economy be managed and enhanced to ensure it delivers a measure of security and social protection to the millions of workers who are beginning to depend on it for their livelihoods? What should be the role of social dialogue and the social partners in shaping developments in the gig economy and ensuring decent work for ‘crowd workers’?The core of the research comprises a thorough examination of case studies of ‘crowdwork’ and ‘work-on-demand via app’ following a cross-national comparative design studying Switzerland, Germany, Greece, and UK. The national cases have been studied via legal frameworks, policy debates, and the national model of industrial relations. In addition, in each country, case studies dominating the national agenda and policy debates have been investigated in-depth. The workshop will present the results of the fieldwork, which are currently also prepared for publication. A first presentation will highlight the challenges and potential disruptions of the gig economy in relation to (national) industrial relations. Then, four papers will present the main findings of the national studies. A final presentation will discuss the need for global standards.