Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Sindicalismo "gig"?

Strike 2.0: how gig economy workers are using tech to fight back, no Guardian:

With this level of technological surveillance by bosses, what hope remains for workers’ attempts to challenge their decisions, especially when that technology is embedded within an employment system that classifies Deliveroo riders as self-employed contractors, shorn of many basic labour rights? The answer is: plenty. As Jamie Woodcock, a sociologist of work at Oxford University, puts it, the digital outsourcing model on which Uber and Deliveroo are built throws up a double precariousness: one for workers, and another for bosses – who, with virtually no human managers overseeing their workforce, have few tools at their disposal to deal with organised resistance. (...)

This kind of fightback can be found throughout the contemporary economy. New apps abound that allow workers to log abuse by managers, read up on their rights, organise their workplace and compare pay rates both with those in similar jobs in their industry and with their own company’s financial results, a powerful weapon for agitating colleagues and rejecting management explanations for low wages. The information asymmetry at the core of digital platforms such as Uber is gradually being undermined by a vibrant network of driver forums with hundreds of thousands of members sharing stories, advice, communications from Uber received through the app and payment details, including screenshots of receipts and monthly income tallies. These enable drivers to collectively gain an understanding of how the app’s secretive ratings systems and dispatch algorithms actually operate. Among other things, this sort of crowdsourced information provides drivers with the opportunity to game the system, for example by agreeing to log off from the app simultaneously, thereby tricking Uber’s algorithms into thinking there is a shortage of drivers and implementing surge pricing to tempt them back.

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