21 October 2019

In The Age, Michael Walker summarises a paper he delivered at the ILO’s 6th Regulating for Decent Work conference: “I looked at thousands of instances of worker-generated content in the online forum uberpeople.net, which was established in 2014 and has over 5 million posts, and also interviewed Uber drivers in Australia. It emerged that online chatter is not just a stepping-stone to real action, such as Uber strikes, but also provides the opportunity for workers to better their situation in a less dramatic fashion by sharing information and experiences, including how to work the system and earn more. … Those working in a situation where there is no union present should check out online forums and share their experiences with other workers, as these forums not only provide support and advice, but also the opportunity to improve working conditions and earning potential. Unions, for their part, should embrace digital technology as a way to strengthen worker voice, either through co-operating with forums that already exist, or creating new online platforms to assist workers and support decent working conditions.”