Five Pillars of Fairwork

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* Report: The Five Pillars of Fairwork. Fairwork Foundation, 2019

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“An estimated 30 million people in the Global South work in the platform economy, where they do freelance or short term jobs that are outsourced to them through digital platforms or apps. Such ‘gigs’ provide essential income and opportunities to many. However, due to a lack of protection in the form of employment law or collective bodies, many platform workers face low pay, precarious job security, and poor and dangerous working conditions. Our goal at the Fairwork Project is to imagine, and ultimately realise, a different, fairer platform economy than the one we have today. We do this by evaluating the working conditions of digital platforms against five ‘principles of fairness’, and scoring them on how well (or poorly) they do. In this way, we hold platforms to account for the kind of work they provide, so that ultimately, platform workers can benefit from receiving better working conditions.

In the first year of our operations (2018-19), we evaluated twenty-two large and influential companies in two contexts: twelve platforms in India (Bangalore), and ten platforms in South Africa (Cape Town and Johannesburg).

To do this, we took as our starting point the five Fairwork principles that we co-developed through a number of workshops that brought together various stakeholders within and beyond the two countries:

  • Principle 1: Fair Pay
  • Principle 2: Fair Conditions
  • Principle 3: Fair Contracts
  • Principle 4: Fair Management
  • Principle 5: Fair Representation “