Digital platforms do not prove minimum standards of decent work

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A survey done to classify how the largest digital platforms treat workers showed that none was able to prove minimum standards of decent work. The research was carried out as part of the Fairwork Brazil project, linked to the University of Oxford, and listened to six platforms: Uber, iFood, 99, Rappi, UberEats and GetNinjas.

The score awarded ranges from 0 to 10 and reflects fair work based on five axes: remuneration, working conditions, contracts, management and representation. Data were obtained through interviews with workers.

According to the report Fairwork Brazil 2021: For decent work in the platform economy, the first of the project in Brazil, iFood and 99 received grade 2; Uber, note 1; and GetNinjas, Rappi and Uber Eats, grade 0.

“Platforms can choose to reduce inequalities and unemployment. However, Fairwork Brazil‘s annual score provides evidence that platform workers, as in many countries around the world, face unfair working conditions and suffer without protections,” the report says.

When the Fair Remuneration item was evaluated, only the 99 was able to show that workers earn at least the local minimum wage, of R$5.50 per hour, which results in R$1,212 per month (2021), discounting the costs for carrying out the work. from work. In a public statement, the company guaranteed that no worker earns less than the local minimum wage.

The study assessed whether workers were paid the local minimum wage, taking into account not only the amount paid for hours worked, but also the cost of task-specific equipment and other work-related costs that workers had to pay out of pocket.

Compensation calculations also took into account the waiting time between one activity and another, which must be paid by the platforms. Most of them do not achieve this basic principle, which even includes high fees for entering the platform.

“There are even platforms that require workers to buy coins to access job offers. Pay rates and working hours are also highly volatile, leading to high income insecurity for workers,” explained Fairwork coordinator in Brazil, Rafael Grohmann.

Uber and 99 were able to show that they take actions to protect workers from task-specific risks, thus showing that they work to provide Fair Working Conditions. However, there are other platforms that have projects underway and planned to address these risks. According to the study, the best practices addressed involved removing barriers to access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and providing clear insurance policies.

“Even so, workers said they face many barriers, such as distance, to access them. Another recurring complaint is the lack of basic infrastructure such as access to restrooms, rest areas and drinking water. The main risks to safety and health, according to them, are traffic accidents, violence, excessive exposure to the sun, back problems, stress and mental suffering”, highlighted Grohmann.

Only one platform (iFood) was able to show adherence to basic standards for contracts, resulting in Fair Contracts, inserting accessible terms and conditions with illustrations.

Even so, according to the research coordinator, the issue of accessible terms of service represents a challenge for these workers.

“Most platforms failed to hit the bottom line for contracts. To reach that point, platforms need to provide a contract that is communicated in clear, understandable language that is accessible to workers at all times,” said Grohmann.

According to Fairwork, platforms must also move to notify workers of proposed changes within a reasonable timeframe, another condition that five of the six platforms studied failed to meet.

Finally, when it comes to Fair Representation, which means that the company allows workers to be able to organize freely in the work environment, the study reveals that none of the platforms is suitable in this sense. One of the platforms (iFood) scored at the basic level due to the construction of a mechanism in relation to the voice of the workers, showing that, after the big strikes, the management met with the leaders.

“The Courier Forum was created, iFood established a channel through which the collective voice of the worker can be expressed. We hope that iFood will continue and further expand this initiative to include as many delivery leaders as possible and really use this mechanism to listen to workers,” said Grohmann.

The coordinator also stated that the research generates impacts around the world. “It is action research. The principles can help in the formulation of public policies and to build, together with the different interested institutions, mechanisms towards decent work in the platform economy in Brazil”.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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