Free Workers Unions

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= unions for freelance and platform economy workers



"grassroots, independent unions are becoming more prominent, particularly in the on-demand transport and food sectors of the platform economy. A key example here is the relatively new Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which represents primarily precarious workers and has been a key organiser of Deliveroo courier actions in London.

The union has succeeded in mounting high-profile campaigns that attracted media attention through creative demonstrations and direct targeting of consumers. Elsewhere, the Freie Arbeiterinnen-und Arbeiter-Union (FAU) in Berlin, also working with food couriers, founded the International Labour Confederation in 2018, along with other militant unions across the world. These unions tend to prioritise their relationship with their members by engaging them directly in mobilisation campaigns.

Another phenomenon has been the emergence of city-based guilds set up by groups of self-organised, on-demand workers. Again, the food delivery platform sector is a good place to find a plethora of examples, with bike couriers launching such associations in France, Germany and Italy to drive (or cycle) forward their cause. They are often supported by both longstanding and independent unions, who offer them legal and logistics advice and other resources.

In one exemplary initiative, the Riders Union Bologna signed a charter with the three main Italian trade union confederations, the city council and the local delivery platform Sgnam e MyMenu to establish a framework of minimum standards for platform workers in the city."