The so-called “gig economy” is part of a wider developing phenomenon identified as “digital economy”. Though a shared taxonomy of the different shapes digital economy can take has not been reached yet, this is characterised by four specific features: the irrelevance of geographical location, the key role played by digital platforms, the importance of online network effects and the use of big data. These features distinguish it from the traditional economy, particularly as a result of the associated value chain transformations.
Though boundaries are often blurred, the ‘gig economy’ has been recognised as an emerging labour market where traditional gigs or new gigs taking place online are intermediated by means of online labour platforms.
The “Don’t Gig Up, Never!” project, co-funded by European Commission’s DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and coordinated by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, intends to build on the knowledge accrued through the “Don’t Gig Up!” Project (February 2018 – January 2020), to further increase the knowledge and awareness on:
- How digital labour platforms act as employers or employment intermediaries;
- How industrial relations and policy makers can adequately address the issue of better protecting platform workers, especially in those sectors of the platform economy that have remained on the margins of the public debate so far.
In particular, “Don’t Gig Up, Never!” intends to deepen the activities successfully implemented during the first phase of the project, updating the State of the Art on social and regulatory developments of platform work in European countries, strengthening the partnership, expanding the geographical coverage as well as focusing on labour platforms providing services other than transport and delivery.
PHASES OF THE PROJECT
Running for 24 months (2021–2023), “Don’t Gig Up, Never!” combines desk and empirical research to analyse features and challenges of the gig economy in a set of selected countries, namely: Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Estonia and Sweden.
The first phase of “Don’t Gig Up, Never!” consists of a preliminary desk review aimed at updating the results of the previous project with regard to platform workers employment and social conditions, the dedicated political debate, the relevant legislative developments, and the trade unions and employers’ organisations involvement in the covered countries.
The second phase consist of empirical qualitative research, in order to construct a number of case studies for each country involved about labour platforms providing services outside the passenger transport and goods delivery sector.
Interim findings from the preliminary analysis and from case studies shall be discussed in three mutual learning workshops along the progression of the project, and involving partners, social partners, and labour platforms’ representatives and workers.
Results shall be presented in a Final Comparative Report, which will be complemented by Policy Recommendations for national and EU policymakers and a separate model of “Terms and Conditions of Service”, to define possible conditions in line with national legal frameworks and EU demands on quality of employment, workers monitoring, privacy and rating, and social security. A dissemination strategy entails the outcomes’ promotion through scientific publications, media articles, and a final public conference involving a wide audience of national and European policy makers, stakeholders, practitioners, and academia.
The action brings together a trans-european network of research centres and trade unions, namely Italy (FGB, UIL), France (IRES, FO), Germany (Ver.di), Poland (IPA, NSZZ Solidarność), Spain (UGT), Estonia (UTARTU) and Sweden (Unionen), involving as well the European Trade Union Confederation and the Italian National Council for Economics and Labour in activities of comparison, mutual learning, and dissemination.
A brief presentation of each partner and associate organisation follows.
Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini (FGB) was founded in 1971 as a research centre committed to carrying over the political and cultural heritage of former Minister of Labour Giacomo Brodolini, who promoted the approval of the Italian Workers’ Charter. Over its 40 years of existence, FGB developed sound experience in research activities, as well as in policy evaluation and project management in the field of labour, industrial relations, and social policies at regional, national, and EU level. In order to support policy making decisions, policy evaluation, and forecasts, FGB has developed econometrical models adopted at national and EU level. Furthermore, FGB has taken part in several EU-funded programmes and projects in the field of social inclusion, analysing the role of vulnerable groups (young workers, elderly people, women, migrants, etc.) in the general framework of social, economic, and demographic developments, with a focus on social exclusion, employment, and gender.
The French Institute for Social and Economic Research (IRES) is the independent research centre of the six French labour unions (CFDT, CFTC, CGT, CFE-CGC, FO, UNSA Education). Created in 1982 with government’s financial support, IRES is registered as a private non-profit organisation under the Associations Act of 1901. IRES mission statement sets the goal of analysing the economic and social issues, at national, European or international levels, of special interest to labour unions. IRES financially supports the research efforts of each constituent labour union taken separately. Ires also operates as an independent research centre.
The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a leading Polish think tank and independent centre for policy research and analysis, established in 1995. IPA’s mission is to contribute to informed public debate on key Polish, European, and global policy issues. The main areas of study include European policy, social policy, social dialogue and industrial relations, civil society, migration, and development policy, as well as law and democratic institutions
The University of Tartu is the Estonia’s leading training and research centre in social sciences, humanities, natural and exact sciences, and medical sciences, ranked in the top 1.2% of the world’s universities. It developed strategic partnerships and networks of recognised research centres and universities, positioning as a prestigious adviser of the development of society seeking research-based solutions to complex problems. UTARTU Centre for Applied Social Sciences holds a wide expertise on workers’ health and safety and human-machine interactions
Confédération générale du travail – Force Ouvrière (FO) was created in 1948, after a split of the Confédération générale du travail (CGT). FO is a trade union organisation, independent from political parties, aiming to represent and defend all workers (both public and private-sector ones) in France, regardless of their political or religious beliefs. FO fights for public services, social welfare, social justice, solidarity, and equal rights. The main tool is collective bargaining with a view to building and improving collective rights at all levels (national, sector, and firm).
Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (Ver.di) was established in 2001 as a result of the merge of five unions active in the service sector and is currently Germany’s second largest trade union. Ver.di. is democratically structured, it represents and advocates for the economic, ecological, social, working and cultural interests of its members. The union promotes basic workplace rights, co-determination, and equality. It supports and advises youth representatives, works councillors, and staff council members with the aim of ensuring effective representation of employees’ interests and of providing support to all members.
Unione Italiana del Lavoro (UIL) is the democratic and unitary union confederation of workers and retired people of any belief, creed, political affiliation, or ethnicity, who work together in order to defend their rights and common professional, economic, social, and moral interests, in compliance with the principles of democracy and freedom enshrined in both the Italian Constitution and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. With over 2,000,000 members, UIL is the third largest trade union confederation in Italy.
Unión General de Trabajadores de España (UGT) is a trade union confederation founded in 1888. One of the two Spanish largest trade unions, UGT is composed of three state federations grouping together workers in the different economic sectors. UGT aims to represent workers for the purposes of increasing moral, economic, and intellectual welfare. It defends the interests of workers by combining action and negotiation, and by always searching for consensus agreements.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) was set up in 1973, and now comprises 90 national trade union confederations in 38 countries, plus 10 European trade union federations. ETUC coordinates and represents the union movement at EU level, also by taking part in a number of consultative bodies and in the European social dialogue. ETUC aims to ensure that the EU is not just a single market for goods and services, but also a social Europe, where improving the wellbeing of workers and their families is an equally important priority.
The National Council for Economics and Labour is an Italian tripartite public body of constitutional relevance with consultative and evaluation functions vis-à-vis the Government, the Parliament, and the Regions. It is as well actively engaged in cooperation with its peers in EU with regards to relevant developments in the fields of economic, social, and labour regulations
Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy Solidarność (NSZZ Solidarność) was founded as a result of workers’ protests and established on the basis of the Gdansk Agreement signed on 31 August 1980. NSZZ Solidarność represents 722,000 workers, with members in every industry and services. Membership includes, among others, managers, administrators, and professional staff, as well as scientists and technicians, skilled workers and labourers, and pensioners. The union’s goal is to defend the rights, dignity, and interests of its members.
Unionen is Sweden’s largest trade union in the private sector, and the largest white-collar trade union in the world. It has 660,000 members, of whom 30,000 are elected representatives, in over 65,000 companies and organisations. Unionen’s members come from a variety of organisations, including major international groups and small family companies. It aims to promote security, success, and satisfaction in working life.
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This website was produced for the Don’t GIG Up, Never! Project, which received funding under the call for proposals VP/2020/004 (improving expertise in the field of industrial relations) of the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. The opinions hereby expressed reflect only the authors’ view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that can be made of the information contained therein.