[Read more session reports from the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week 2018]
Mr Mark Graham (Professor of Internet Geography, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford) started by introducing the speakers and providing a background for the discussion, summarising some concerning work practices in the platform job market, such as precarious work conditions and long work hours. He mentioned that governments and labour unions know little about these problems, nothing that it is necessary to develop standards and some certification for well-behaved platforms to encourage platforms to live up to their moral responsibilities.
Mr Jamie Woodcock, (Researcher, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford) asked participants to meet in break-out groups to discuss the shortcomings of platform work and the positive work conditions that should be in place. Groups would then report their discussions to the plenary.
Some of the points that group leaders reported back to the plenary were the following:
Graham asked for points of disagreement with regard to the list presented. Participants called attention to the controversy around the concept of decent work. In some countries, labour rights are not respected in traditional offline work relations. They also mentioned the need for caution regarding the discussion on taxation. States want to tax platforms because they are interested in increasing their revenue, but these resources will not necessarily be used to benefit the workers.
By Marilia Maciel