Uber: risk without autonomy or control

Dr Alex J. Wood discussed the implications of the recent UK Uber Employment Tribunal ruling on BBC News. The court decided that Uber must classify its drivers as workers. The ruling means that, pending appeal, Uber drivers are entitled to the national minimum and living wage of £7.20 an hour, rest breaks and sick pay.

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It’s a matter of time: can Deliveroo deliver collective bargaining for the gig economy?

Last week ‘gig’ workers took to the streets in a show of public discontent. London’s Deliveroo couriers (moped or cycle riding workers who pick up food from restaurants and deliver it to customers) have begun a series of headline grabbing strike and protest actions.

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Digital Transformations of Work

The conference will explore issues such as the degree to which information technology is transforming capitalism and opening up new means of exploitation, whether the traditional regulation of working time, structured around a stable 9-5 5-day week, is being fractured; how labour is being fragmented and individualized and employment casualized. And whether the digital circulation of work is leading to precarity or new online entrepreneurism.

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Tracing employment rights through online labour markets

Online labour markets represent a rapidly growing feature of the world of work. Dozens of international online market places exist for the buying and selling of labour. The number of hours worked on oDesk.com (now known as Upwork), a leading platform, grew from 2 million in early 2010 to over 10 million hours in early 2013. By 2012, workers’ cumulative earnings on the site had reached an estimated $1 billion (Lehfonvirta et al., forthcoming).

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Zero Hours Employment: A New Temporality of Capitalism?

by Alex Wood and Brendan Burchell

For many critics, the growth of insecure work is evidence that United Kingdom (UK) government’s economic policies are failing. It is argued that the declining unemployment of the past 18 months, which the government vaunts as evidence that the UK is back on track to a full economic recovery, is largely due to people accepting the low-quality jobs that have proliferated since the onset of the ‘Great Recession’. For many in the UK, the precarious nature of much of this work is epitomized by so-called ‘zero hours employment’.

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