ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Platform economy

Amid a Legal Conundrum

Platform economy promotes flexibility and assures autonomy to the workers. With a rapid increase in digitally mediated platforms to govern the world of work, we often overlook the legal existence of workers’ employment status. Around the world, the highest courts are making concerted efforts to re-evaluate the core aspects of the criteria traditionally used to distinguish between employees and the self-employed. However, the judicially interpreted test for employee status determination often provides mixed results. This article, while providing an overview, advocates for using organisational integration tests instead of supervision and control tests to determine the legal employment status of platform workers.

The National e-Commerce Policy, 2019

The draft national e-commerce policy 2019 states that the e-commerce platforms use network effects and mining of unstructured data to create entry barriers. We argue that network effects alone do not create sustainable competitive advantage for the platforms. The added effect of the high customer switching costs creates a dominant position for the big firms. It is to be noted that their business models are not built around data. The provision of consumer data or the regulation of foreign participation in this space, does not translate into better business opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises due to their small-scale operations. Rather, the big domestic retail players might take over and limit the opportunities. 

Labour Laws for Gig Workers in the Context of Labour Law Reforms

In an attempt to incorporate the doctrine of universalisation of social security, the gig workers are brought into the ambit of the labour laws for the first time, with the provision of some welfare measures under the Code on Social Security, 2020. The three other codes are silent on the policies towards gig workers. While the codes are yet to be implemented, there are many questions pertaining to the clarity of the codes and how to implement them effectively to meet the intended objectives.

Before the Gig Economy

Studying Delhi’s radio taxi industry, this paper traces the transitional process of traditional taxi services in the capital to radio taxi services and finally to the current app-based taxi aggregators. The radio taxi companies ruptured old kinship ties and informal relations with a combination of technology, surveillance, and finance—a process app-based taxi aggregators have further refined. There is also an account of the labour struggles in the industry that preceded the advent of the platform economy.

 

The Macro Frames of Microwork

Based on a qualitative study of women microworkers on Amazon Mechanical Turk, this paper explores the gendered modus operandi of global platform capitalism. For women from households negotiating caste and class status in small-town South India, digital labour platforms like AMT are the optimal choice; an answer to both economic necessity and familial validation. Women must, however, endure the platform’s coercive disciplining, striving to meet its unknowable metrics. With the pandemic, even as they are forced to contend with the oppressive precarity of digital labour—reducing job availability, falling pay, longer hours and the risk of suspension—work on AMT, paradoxically, becomes non-negotiable. The artificial intelligence-based regimes of the platform economy urgently need a norm shift towards gender equality and redistributive justice.