Democratizing Platform Work from Below

Author/s Paolo Borghi
Publishing Year 2024 Issue 2023/2
Language English Pages 28 P. 51-78 File size 247 KB
DOI 10.3280/SO2023-002003
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This article aims at contributing to the debate on democratizing work by looking at platform work and food delivery in particular. Based on an extended multi-sited ethnography, the article analyses two relevant case studies of workers’ organisations, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain in the UK and the grassroots group Deliverance Milano in Italy. First, it shows how efforts to democratise and decommodify platform work, as well as the issue of decarbonisation, take shape collectively from below and through conflict in order to compensate the absence of a robust and effective regulatory system. Therefore, it is primarily an effort to create a dêmos with the right to demand rights. Second, the conflict emerges as a means of improving working conditions, denouncing greenwashing practices, an opportunity for collective learning and experimenting practices of resistance. Due to these reasons, practices of conflict inspire the renewal of collective representation strategies in non-standard working contexts with a workforce scattered and casualised. Finally, the struggles for democratization, decommodification and decarbonisation in food delivery show that the contribution of independent unions and grassroots group plays a fundamental role, complementary to that of well-established trade unions and public institutions.

Keywords: democratizing work, food delivery, grassroots group, independent unions, conflict, collective representation

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Paolo Borghi, Democratizing Platform Work from Below in "STUDI ORGANIZZATIVI " 2/2023, pp 51-78, DOI: 10.3280/SO2023-002003