Fairwork Podcast


003: Contracts

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.

More Episodes


008: A Platform Named Desire

Season 2, Ep. 8
The history of the internet and of pornography are deeply intertwined, they mix and overlap that to see one without the other is to only capture half the picture. And the human desire for sex is often a desire that has driven the development of many of the technologies that underpin modern life. Sex workers have often been early adopters of digital technologies, but sex workers don’t just take advantage of technology, they are part of driving their creation and uptake.In this episode of the Fairwork podcast we speak to Dr Heather Berg, an Academic and writer based in Washington state. Our conversation, recorded last year, looks at the platformisation of sex work, the radical restructuring of the porn industry that this has brought about, and the changing workplace conditions that platforms like OnlyFans have ushered in for workers.For the introduction of this episode I took a lot of influence from this great website which I highly recommend you check out as it has loads of great articles and archive materials about sex workers early adoption and development of internet technologies: https://sexworkersbuilttheinter.net/There's also this great article by Gabrielle Garcia and it was a lecture by Gabrielle that initially put me on to the story of Danni's Hard drive: https://decodingstigma.substack.com/p/cybernetic-sex-workerHeather's book Porn Work is out now - definitely check it out as she's not just a brilliant speaker, but writer too: https://uncpress.org/book/9781469661926/porn-work/For the academics in the room, I'd also highly recommend this great article by Dr Kate Hardy: https://read.dukeupress.edu/south-atlantic-quarterly/article-abstract/120/3/533/174127/Hustling-the-PlatformCapitalist-Experiments-and?redirectedFrom=fulltext

007: OnlyBans

Season 2, Ep. 7
In the summer of 2021, probably the world’s largest sex work platform, OnlyFans announced that it would be banning creators from posting sexual content. The platform which rose to prominence in the pandemic, allows people to monetise the content they produce, gathering payment in exchange for access to pictures, videos and communication channels. Today, there are around 1.5 millions creators on OnlyFans, and many of them are reliant on the platform to enable them to survive – to cover their everyday needs. The decision was ultimately reversed and OnlyFans remains the largest and best known remote sex work platform, but this example serves to highlight the precarious position of sex workers working online. The rug can be pulled from under your feet at any time, without any meaningful way for you as a worker to contest or shape decisions as to what kinds of content are allowed.In the next few episodes of the Fairwork podcast, we’ll be exploring the world of online sex work. In this episode we start with an interview with a worker on OnlyFans. We’ll hear his story of making it on the platform, and the realities of make a living online. After that we’ll speak to Dr Helen Rand, senior lecturer in Criminology at the University of Greenwich, where we discuss the broader implications surrounding the platformisation of online sex work.You can play the brilliant OnlyBans game here: onlybansgame.com/playHelen Rand's paper 'Challenging the Invisibility of Sex Work in Digital Labour Politics' can be found here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0141778919879749You can find info on UCU Strikes here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/rising

006: YouTube Gets A Union Part 2

Season 2, Ep. 6
If you’re making your living from YouTube, there’s no financial safety net, no contract, no sick pay, holiday pay. it’s a fierce popularity contest in which an individual’s earnings is largely determined by a set of black box systems; recommendation algorithms and demonetisation processes, which you, as a worker, don’t get any insight into. They are determined solely by YouTube, without consultation, even though they hugely influence the working experiences of content creators on the platform.At the same time, the amount of content uploaded to YouTube is astronomical – equivalent to 400 hours of new content every minute. For every successful content creator, there is apparently a whole army waiting in the wings to take over should they miss a step, stumble or fall down. A seemingly endless pool of labour in a labour market without geographic barriers.Understandably the pressure that this can take on YouTubers is huge.In this episode we return to hear the conclusion of Jorge Sprave’s story. In part one of this two part story, we head his story of getting to YouTube with the Slingshot Channel, where he makes homemade weapons and launchers, how he left his well paying job to go full time on the platform and how his income collapsed following the implementation of a series of policies by YouTube – in a period that would be know as the Adpocalypse. We return to the story looking at what steps Jorge took to combat the changes.Olga Kay's story for this podcast came from an interview for this book written by Chris Stokel Walker https://www.canburypress.com/products/youtubers-by-chris-stokel-walkerThere's a lot of great stuff on YouTube itself about creator burnout that helped me with this episode. Here's a few things I wanted to share:Great short documentary by the BBC with a focus on Latin American creators https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUrNbl1lNV4&t=3sElle Mills' Burnout at 19 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKKwgq9LRgAThe Mental Health Struggles Of Being A YouTuber: Trolls, Jealousy, Burnout by Dr Ali ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq4YhMUvhjQ&t=920s