Work on through the storm : Platform work in the pandemic

Nelli Kampouri, Neil Spencer, Tracy Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Drawing on quantitative and qualitative research in England, and more specifically in London, this article sheds light on trends in platform work during the COVID-19 crisis. While the number of platform workers grew, the proportion of their income it contributed to fell, making up less than a quarter of total earnings. Interviews with driving and delivery platform workers in London (Europe’s largest platform market) shed light on these puzzling trends. New recruitment by the platforms and adjustment of their algorithms during the lockdown led to downward pressure on earnings, poorer working conditions, extended waiting times, longer working hours and negative impacts on work–life balance, health and well-being. The article concludes that the pandemic provided platforms with an opportunity to consolidate their market position, but this was achieved at the cost of growing power asymmetry in the platform labour market, with workers’ attempts to organise and improve conditions undermined by over-recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-70
Number of pages24
JournalWork Organisation, Labour and Globalisation
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • London
  • labour
  • over-recruitment
  • pandemic
  • platform
  • trends
  • working conditions

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