PLUS – Future of Labour

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT:

PLUS – Platform Labour in Urban Spaces project aims to address the main features of the platform economy’s impact on work, welfare and social protection through a ground-breaking trans-urban approach. The platform economy, indeed, is emerging as a strategic sector in terms of the application of digital technologies, business investments, and new jobs.

PROJECT FOUNDER:

European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822638.

KEY GOALS OF THE PROJECT:

The PLUS Project 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 the 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). The project main aims are:

  • to build a theoretical understanding of the platform economy, framing its development both as a disruptive event and as a long-time and multi-level process.
  • to promote alternative scenarios of labour organization in the platform companies.
  • to highlight the larger socio-economic impacts of the platform economy on society, especially on urban spaces and city users.
  • to facilitate the integration of rights, safety and well-being of the workers in the platform economy. PLUS aims to valorise features of autonomy and self-organization inside platforms while ensuring conditions for good quality of working conditions.
  • to inquire and propose innovative business models within the platform economy that could combine innovative aspects of labour organization with an ethic of social entrepreneurship.
  • to empower and suggest possible applications of the Social Investment Package and of the European Pillar of Social Rights as well as basic income models as potential solutions for the specific challenges posed by the platform economy.

DURATION:

Jan. 2019 – Dec. 2021

OUTCOMES:

  • Dimmons tasks include addressing the theories around platform labour and the platform economy to differentiate business models depending on their democratic qualities. In order to do so, Dimmons’ analysis uses the theoretical framework of the corporate business models and the organization of platforms around economic dimension, governance, data and technological policies, and social responsibility and their impact on the cities. (See Sharing Star)
  • The current conclusions show that different business models in the Platform Economy coexist. Moreover, from the more extractivist models to the more cooperative ones, the governance of the platform plays a major role in their characterisation. The analysis also shows that as the nature of the Platform Economy business models responds to a constantly changing environment, so does the different labour models of platforms. Then, it becomes interesting to analyse what implications this has on the juridical recognition and working conditions of platform workers. At the same time, the results of this investigation highlight the interconnection among governance, economic model and data and technological policies. In this regard, alternative platforms based on digital commons and cooperativistic values are the most democratic.
  • Report: City Resources on Socially Responsible Platform Models. As Platform Economy is growing rapidly and exponentially, we should be able to detect the existence of different platform models. This might help us appreciate which models have the potential to contribute to a fairer sustainable development of society.

EVENT PRESENTATIONS

The appearance of disruptive digital platforms like Uber or Airbnb has generated a great deal of public controversy and has made it crystal clear that our cities are changing in terms of labour and rights. How the current laws should be modified to face these challenges? Should a new contractual form be designed? Should current rights be expanded? The PLUS project analyses the current state of platform labour in urban spaces, and focus its attention to how we can achieve alternative models towards the promotion of labour and digital rights. (Watch the video)

Departing from the Common Declaration of Principles and Commitments for the Sharing Cities (Barcelona, 2018) agreed by around 50 cities, this panel is structured in two parts intertwined. A first part, focused on a discussion about the impact of platform labour in urban spaces. On the other side, a second part centred on the importance of an alliance among cities and the work carried on by the Sharing Cities Action Taskforce. At last, activist Murray Cox introduces the article: “A coordinated negotiation with platforms? Data Policies & Strategies with focus on Short Term Rental Tourism” by Dimmons Research Group and Murray Cox from Inside Airbnb. (Watch the video)

Envisaging a Transformation in the Traditional Social Safety-net Models: Universal Basic Income a Tool of Empowerment in the Platform Economy.

A glocal perspective of Platform Couriers: A global cities overview on platform economy and labour with a deep local focus on Barcelona.