Platform Labour in Urban Spaces

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"The PLUS Project (Platform Labour in Urban Spaces: Fairness, Welfare, Development) aims to address the main features of the platform economy’s impact on work, welfare and social protection. The platform economy appears to be emerging as a strategic sector in terms of application of digital technologies, business investments, new jobs. In other words, it encapsulates the main opportunities and challenges for the future of work. The project’s goal is to sketch a picture of such transformations through the multi-level analysis of four major disruptive platforms (AirBnb, Deliveroo, Helpling and Uber) in seven European cities (Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Lisbon, London, Paris, Tallinn) with a multi-disciplinary approach (legal, socio-economic, political, historical).

For this reason PLUS pays particular attention to how different key players approach these changes in terms of skills training, labour market opportunities, fair wages and rights promotion. PLUS proposes a European trans-urban innovative approach to investigate the perceptions and perspectives of such actors and their prevalence, using a qualitative approach. The analysis and evaluation of ongoing transformations associated with the platform economy will also be supported by secondary analysis of quantitative data and a survey.

PLUS will not limit itself to the analysis of ongoing socio-economic changes but, choosing some of the main disruptive companies that adopted the platform business model, will also explore potential future scenarios and policies for a fair development, responsible technological transformations, labour market balance and the redistribution of gains. Here, PLUS will place three of the EU2020 targets (Employment, Education and Poverty) and two of the seven European Flagships (New skills and jobs, and Poverty) into a specific research project proposing guidelines for policymakers, i.e. in relation to the taxation and regulation in order to ensure more general redistributive benefits. At the same time, PLUS catches the challenge to harmonize economic growth with social wellbeing and explore the possibility of establishing educational patterns that can achieve a better matching between workers and the labour market, to promote collaborative and inclusive business models and improvements in work organization. Much attention will be given to the EU effort to innovate welfare and social protections in order to suit productive and social transformations (COM(2016)356 final

A European Agenda for the collaborative economy; Commission Recommendation (UE) 2017/761 on the European Pillar of social rights, especially point 5). For this reason, the elaboration of a platform economic specific analysis will be strictly linked with proposals for improved work-life balance, occupational health and safety and gender equality. Furthermore, PLUS will consider and evaluate basic income proposals to assess their potential for supporting social mobility and minimising unemployment and uncertainty.

Finally, PLUS aims to support more generally the development of a European strategy that promotes a balance between economic growth and technologic transformations with distributive fairness and social protection, especially in those industry sectors where regulatory policies have still to be improved as a fundamental pillar for social cohesion. So PLUS strategically supports policymakers as multi-level actors towards a socially inclusive growth because of their power to manage local taxation and regulation policies.

The project further aims to experiment processes of co-creation and co-planning inside the platform economy which could produce and test guidelines for a fair development of new business models alongside workers’ education and well-being." (email, March 2