Working Conditions of Platform Workers and Their Protest Waves in Turkey

Köse S.

ILERA 2022 European Congress, Barcelona, Spain, 8 - 10 September 2022, pp.147-148

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Barcelona
  • Country: Spain
  • Page Numbers: pp.147-148
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


In the technologically advanced societies of the 21st century precarious forms of work are increasingly replacing traditional employment relations, posing organizational, social, and legal challenges. The recent increase in telework due to the pandemic led to a further increase in all types of platform work which has become a major issue and yet, in many countries, is still lacking clear rules and regulations. My communication proposers to show how the evolution of the digital economy challenges collective bargaining institutions and actors by comparing developments in the United States and the European Union regarding the legal status and right to organize of platform workers. In the US and the EU the gig economy and platform work generally refer to forms of employment relations characterized by non-permanent or short-term contracts with few benefits, such as contingent work, self-employment, temporary agencies, and app based platform work. However not all workers in the gig economy are underpaid drivers or food delivery riders, controlled through app-based companies. According to certain estimates, professional workers also account for a sizable share of the contingent workforce in the US and the EU. Many of these professionals are highly skilled and educated, and sometimes have comfortable incomes, but are (by choice or not) in non-permanent employment relations lacking job security and its fringe benefits and protections. Furthermore, in the US since many of these workers are considered as self-employed and not as employees, it is almost impossible for them to join labor unions and organize collective actions to improve their conditions. Nevertheless, in California the AB5 Bill (California Assembly Bill 5), enacted in September 2019, was viewed as having the potential to reshape the gig economy by forcing app-based companies to treat independent contractors as "employees" with the attached rights and labor protections, such as job benefits and pay guarantees, which do not apply to independent contractors. After analyzing the context leading to this legislation as well as its implications and effects, I will compare these developments to the currently proposed EU Directive on improving working conditions in platform work which would grant legal employment status to platform workers. In both cases my communication will outline the organizing drives and lobbying efforts behind the evolution of these legal definitions that categorize platform workers either as independent contractors or as employees and also the challenges and implications of these regulations for the participation and collective representation of platform workers. My conclusion will focus on the strategy of the different actors involved and the factors leading to the emergence of these industrial relations arrangements stemming from the evolution of digitalization.