Season 1, Ep. 5
Many of us take for granted the minimum wage. It’s just there, hovering in background, the floor that sits beneath us, ensuring the minimum we will take home at the end of a day’s work. But for workers in the gig economy, it’s a luxury they rarely know, as they piece together a living task to task, never knowing what a days work will be worth at the end of it.This week on the Fairwork podcast, we hear the story of Ethan Bradley, a Deliveroo courier based in the North East of England. We look at issues related to pay, what it is like working under a piece rate system, the mental stress attached to this, and how it shapes your experiences of your work. We hear from Matt Cole, a researcher at Fairwork and from Emiliano Mellino of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism about their recent investigation into hourly pay for Deliveroo riders across the UK.You can read the Bureau's full report here.
Season 1, Ep. 4
Francis Scaife works as a courier in the North East of England, in their home town of Teesside, a town heavily effected by deindustrialisation. Working as a courier for the gig economy platform Stuart provides Francis with a vital source of income in a time of huge national economic insecurity, but more than this it gives them a sense of purpose, drawing them out their house and into their community.Stuart is a multinational business operating across Europe, it runs the online platform through which Francis works, shaping their working life in important and profound ways. As a company, it is everywhere and nowhere, operating at huge scales, but without the fixed infrastructure and offices that characterised the traditional courier companies that preceded it.This episode looks at management, what’s it like working through a platform, where the principal colleague you’re working with is your smartphone? And how do you deal with the problems you encounter in your working day when you have no human manager to turn to?
Season 1, Ep. 3
On Friday the 18th of February, the UK Supreme Court announced its judgement on the case Uber V Aslam, rejecting Uber's appeal and declaring that two of its drivers, Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar must be classified as workers. This was the end of 5 years of legal challenges, with Uber taking their appeal to the highest court in the country.For Yaseen Aslam, it was 7 years in the making and took him on a journey that would dominate his life in ways he never would have imagined.This episode looks at contracts and in it, we hear from Yaseen Aslam, the former Uber driver who successfully took them to court over his classification as a self-employed independent contractor, a ruling that has implications for gig workers in the UK and beyond. We hear Yaseen’s personal account of a case that has made headlines around the globe. We find out what it is like taking on a multinational corporation, organising gig workers in the UK, and what inspired him to do it.
Season 1, Ep. 2
As the world went into lockdown for the first time last year, there was a new focus on the people that keep our society running. Many gig workers found that the services they provide were now an essential, helping to keep people fed and allowing them to move around the city. Without many of the workplace protections commonplace across the rest of society, many workers found themselves forced to carry on working regardless of the risk, in sickness and in health, or face financial ruin. In this episode we here from Aziz - a pseudonym - a ridehail driver in London. We explore what it is like working during a pandemic, serving your community and keeping the country running. How do you deal with sickness and the need to self-isolate in the absence of official protections? And how do you navigate the daily difficulties you encounter on the streets, when no one’s got your back?
Season 1, Ep. 1
In 2016, the headlines erupted with news that Deliveroo riders in London were on strike. This was the first time that workers in the gig economy had mobilised in the UK, taking to the streets to make their voices heard. The events that took place that summer shaped the lives of workers in the gig economy to this day and we’re still coming to terms with the ramifications of its successes and failures. In this episode, we hear from Mohaan Biswas about his first-hand experience of the strikes. We explore what it’s like trying to organise and negotiate with gig economy platforms. What are the difficulties of talking with a company that doesn’t legally employ you? And what happens when hundreds of workers come out from behind the screen to make their voices heard?You can read about the IWGB's ongoing legal challenge surrounding the right for Deliveroo riders to collectively bargain here.
Introducing the Fairwork Podcast
What it’s like working in the gig economy, what it’s like being managed by algorithms, rated on every job and monitored every step of the way?Millions of people are piecing together a living in the gig economy. From online freelancing to couriering, domestic work to beauticians, digital platforms are becoming a major means by which people are accessing paid work. The Fairwork podcast looks at the stories of people within the gig economy, exploring the intersection between precarity and technology through the lens of our five principles of fair work. We speak to workers who have made headlines with legal cases, taken part in strikes and those just quietly getting on with trying to put food on the table.Each episode of our first series will take one Fairwork principle and explore how this area has impacted a worker’s experience. We ask the big questions, looking at the political and the personal – exploring the radical changes to our world of work through the eyes of those at its centre.