Research Portal

Faculty of Law | University of the Western Cape

Research Portal

Faculty of Law | University of the Western Cape


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Labour law in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a newly emerging area of enquiry, and many people will be unfamiliar with its key concepts and preoccupations. Others yet will be well-versed in it, but always keen to widen their knowledge. Our Resources section is here to help in either case.

To assist scholars, researchers, practitioners, students, activists, policy-makers and -shapers, and the general public, we are curating a regularly-updated body of research and other materials. These range from leading-edge journal articles and reports by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to media reports, legislation, international treaties, and more. Think of our Resources section as the Teacher's Choice -- our Recommended Reading list for understanding labour law in the digital age.

Featured resource/s

Featured resource: App Workers United: The struggle for rights in the gig economy

Research reports

Anne Dufresne and Cédric Leterme (January 2021). App Workers United: The struggle for rights in the gig economy.

This study provides The Left (European Parliamentary group) with the right tools to pursue their work in the European Parliament in defence of platform workers and their rights. The findings show that the battle for the status of platform workers is seminal. As part of their work in the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL), the authors are committed to ensure that platform workers have the same rights and work conditions as other workers.

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Featured resource: The gig economy and covid-19: Looking ahead

Edited and co-edited works

Funda Ustek-Spilda, Richard Heeks, Mark Graham, Alessio Bertolini, NancySalem, Srujana Katta, Sandy Fredman, Kelle Howson, Fabian Ferrari, Mounika Neerukonda, Pradyumna Taduri, Adam Badger and Pablo Aguera Reneses (September 2020). The gig economy and covid-19: Looking ahead - Fairwork Team Publication.

The report examines the impact of Covid-19 on gig workers. It’s key findings reflect the following: Fair Pay: While it remains the most important for workers, we found little evidence of platforms offering compensation for loss of income. Direct policies to increase pay were mostly advertised by large multinational platforms, like Uber, but were often only available to a fraction of their workforce. When government funding became available to gig workers in some countries, platforms transferred the responsibility over to the governments. Fair conditions 1 (Prevention): More platforms offered hygiene guidance and protective equipment to workers, especially since many of these measures became compulsory by governments. ‘Contact-free services’ were also common but more often oriented towards clients than workers. Fair Conditions 2 (Illness): Just over half of the platforms surveyed were offering some form of sick pay policy. However, these often consisted of flat-rate payments that in practice fall below the local minimum wage. Access to the schemes also remains a contested issue. Where government financial relief was extended to gig workers, platforms again shifted the responsibility to the state instead of offering extra relief measures. Fair contracts: The normalisation of platforms offering (some form) of assistance to their workers during the COVID-19 crisis suggests that the meaning of ‘independent contractor’ has begun to change. Nonetheless, we still found no evidence of platforms willing to implement permanent changes in the worker’s contracts. Fair Management: Only a fraction of platforms is guaranteeing no loss of bonus or incentive levels despite temporary deactivation of workers, and a lesser number issued statements against discrimination towards certain worker groups. We also found an increased number of surveillance and screening practices on workers that risk becoming normalised. Fair Representation: There has been an increase in worker strikes taking place across the world sparked by the conditions of work in the gig economy during the pandemic. However, we found no examples of platforms actively engaging with the demands of worker’s unions and associations.

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Featured resource: ‘Don’t GIG up!’ Report

Edited and co-edited works

Thomas Haipeter (Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, FGB, and University of Duisburg-Essen), Dominik Owczarek (Institute of Public Affairs, IPA), Michele Faioli (FGB and Catholic University of Milan) and Feliciano Iudicone (FGB) (January 2020). ‘Don’t GIG up!’ Report.

This report was produced as part of the ‘Don’t GIG up!’ project, co- funded by the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, and aimed at improving expertise and knowledge on the role unions and social dialogue can play with regard to the protection of gig workers. Running for 24 months (February 2018 – January 2020), the project brings together unions and research centres to analyse features and challenges of the gig economy in a set of selected countries, namely Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. More precisely, the scope of the project is work carried out through labour platforms. At the onset of the research, such platforms were divided into four groups according to their core activities, as per the table below

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‘Don’t GIG up!’ Report

A Clean Slate for Worker Power: Building a Just Economy and Democracy.

A Eulogy for the EULA

A Review of the Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Employment

Access to social security for digital platform workers in Germany and in Russia: a comparative study

Advancing Social Justice: Shaping the future of work in Africa

Amicus curiae workshop on the EPSU case

App Workers United: The struggle for rights in the gig economy

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of the African continent

Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Labour Protection: Introduction

Big Data and Discrimination

California Wanted to Protect Uber Drivers. Now It May Hurt Freelancers.

California’s Contractor Law Stirs Confusion Beyond the Gig Economy

Candidates Grow Bolder on Labor, and Not Just Bernie Sanders.

Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work

Cleaning Up : A sociological investigation into the use of outsourced housecleaning services

Codetermination 2035 - Four Scenarios: Focus on Digitalisation

Contradictory decisions on the employment status of platform workers in Spain.

Cooperation in a changing world of work

Cooperative Enterprise as an Antimonopoly Strategy

Crowdwork – a comparative law perspective

Debate on labour broker, client responsibility heats up

Dependent self-employment: Trends, challenges and policy responses in the EU

Digitising European Industry - Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market

Domestic Workers’ Union takes struggle for injury and death compensation to ConCourt

Don't Gig Up: Final Report

DON'T GIG UP! State of the Art Report

Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Labour Law and Labour Market: Can AI be a Boss?

Emerging technologies and the future of work in India

Employee Data Protection in the Transnational Company

Employment and working conditions of selected types of platform work

Employment and working conditions of selected types of platform work. National context analysis: Italy

Entrepreneurial intelligence: Expanding Schwab’s four-type intelligence proposition to meaningfully address the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Fairwork South Africa Ratings 2020: Labour Standards in the Gig Economy

Futures of work in South Africa

Gig Workers, Platforms and Government During Covid-19 in South Africa

Global Labour Journal

Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices

Inception report for the Global Commission on the Future of Work

Industry 4.0 – networked, adaptive production

Information technology and the US workforce

Innovation in the fourth industrial revolution: To disrupt or be disrupted?

Innovative approaches for ensuring universal social protection for the future of work

Insiders, Outsiders and Conflicts of Interest

Intelligent Economies: AI’s transformation of industries and society

Justice on our fields: Can ‘alt-labor’ organizations improve migrant farm workers’ conditions?

Labor Platforms and Gig Work: The Failure to Regulate

Labour Court judgment in the matter of CHEP South Africa (Pty) Ltd v Shardlow N.O and others[2019].

Market Inquiry into Land Based Public Passenger Transport: Main Report

Market Inquiry into Land Based Public Passenger Transport: Metered Taxis and E-Hailing Services Report

National Land Transport Amendment Bill

National Social Economy: Draft Green Paper

Non-standard employment and labour legislation

Organizing on-demand: Representation,voice, and collective bargaining in the gig economy

Pathways to Digital Work: A Strategy Primer for South Africa’s Digital Economy

Platform co-operatives – solving the capital conundrum

Rediscovering Worker Cooperatives in a Changing World of Work

Social Capital in Asia: An Exploratory Study

Solving the ‘Gig-saw’? Collective Rights and Platform Work

South Africa is caught in the global hype of the fourth industrial revolution

Structural transformation in South Africa

The 'gig economy': Employee, self-employed or the need for a special employment regulation?

The App as a Boss? Control and Autonomy in Application-Based Management

The Enforceability of Incorporated Terms in Electronic Agreements

The Future of Manufacturing Employment

The Future of Women's Work in Africa

The Future of Work in South Africa: Conversation 1: Work and Society

The Future of Work in South Africa: Conversation II: Decent Jobs for All

The Future of Work in South Africa: Conversation III: The Organisation Of Work And Production

The Future of Work in South Africa: Conversation IV: The Governance of Work

The Future of Work: 2018 Whitaker Lecture

The future of work: A literature review

The Future of Work: Litigating Labour Relationships in the Gig Economy

The gig economy and covid-19: Looking ahead

The Global Deal for Decent Work and Inclusive Growth Flagship Report 2018

The global governance of cyberspace: reimagining private actors' accountability: Introduction

The Impact of the Digital Transformation on EU Labour Markets

The job quality in the 21st century: a road map to a new development model

The rise and nature of alternative work arrangements in the United States 1995-2015

The Road to Digital Unfreedom: The Threat of Postmodern Totalitarianism

The Social Protection of Workers in the Platform Economy

The threat of physical and psychosocial violence and harassment in digitalized work

Trade unions and worker cooperatives: Where are we at?

Uber South Africa Technology Services (Pty) Ltd v National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) and Others (12 January 2018)

Uber stops upfront ride pricing in response to California worker law

Universities ‘key to bridging global digital divide’

Vending in Public Spaces and the Law: A case study

Work 4.0 and the future of labour law

Workers' Rights in the Digital Age

Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work

Working Paper Series: An overview of results from NIDS-CRAM Wave 1 2020

World Social Protection Report 2017-19

California is Poised to Expand Labour Protections for Workers

Karshan (Midlands) Trading as Dominos Pizza v Revenue Commissioners [2019] IEHC 894 (20 December 2019)