Most people typically think of the working economy as employment that is divided between two groups: employed and self-employed. The latter provides more flexibility but does not come with any rights, while the prior establishes an abundance of rights, but limited flexibility. The “gig economy”, as it is commonly referred, examines the latter partition: comprising of the seemingly self-employed and highly flexible type of employment.
Understanding The “Gig” Economy
A majority of the working class understands that there are various changes occurring every day across different sectors. Perhaps one of the most prominent of these is the increasingly accessible and flexible work available via the so-called “gig economy”. In fact, app-based work is now considered the best method to cater to people’s desires for more flexible working arrangements.
However, this was not always the case. Specifically, even though ease of access may have risen, gig employers are not offering a new way of working. Rather, conventional kinds of work are being painted over, but in this process, relevant employment legislation that aims to prevent the exploitation of individuals is avoided.
As a result of this vulnerability, workers who are employed in these different “gig economy” environments have an incentive to establish unions. With the presence of unions, younger crowds are attracted to the concept of trade-unionism, calling to account app-based employers who dis-classify workers as independent contractors but without the rights.
Companies that embrace “gig economy” dynamics, also attempt to avoid the “employer”’ classification, opting rather to refer to themselves as “platforms”. This term has spread some level of confusion regarding employment rights. As a result, companies like Uber and Deliveroo continue to conduct their operations in a de-regulated environment whilst growing rapidly and earning huge sums of revenue.
Flexibility is another key feature of employment that should be considered carefully within the gig economy. Flexibility leaves an absence in the employer-employee relationship along with a number of working rights that accompany such a state of employment. Over the years, various undercover journalists revealed the substantial control that companies such as Deliveroo have had over their workforce. Furthermore, no matter how much these types of companies cling to the phrase, the courts’ recent judgments have interpreted that flexibility is not quite an indication of increased independence.
When settling on a career path, most people find themselves caught between the need for security versus the innate need to have some control over their lives. This is largely a result of human nature’s tendency to incur at least some conflict across both aspects.