Reworking the gig economy

At least forty major legal challenges are currently being prepared for gig economy companies around the world. As workers fight for more fair working conditions, issues like pay, safety, and hours are being addressed. The system is the real problem, not the corporations. The gig economy was supposed to free workers from the constraints of traditional employment structures and allow them to work whenever and wherever they choose. However, it has not worked for many. They are forced to work long hours without protections such as health insurance and receive little or no pay. Cooperatives are popping up all over the world to try and reverse this trend.

In June 2021, the Drivers Cooperative took on the ride-sharing industry by launching their app, Coop Ride, in New York City. The platform is similar to other ride-hailing applications, but the profits are returned to drivers instead of a conglomerate. The drivers can vote on the company’s decisions, giving them a greater sense of control over their own lives. Colombian-based MAT launched in October 2020 as another driver-owned co-op, hoping to avoid the problems other companies had on the market regarding pay and employee benefits. The company claims to be socially responsible, and the drivers become shareholders as the business grows.

Food delivery drivers are also considering the cooperative model as a possible solution. Khora Kollektiv, a Berlin-based cooperative that employs 30 people to handle both bike deliveries as well as dispatch duties, launched in March 2020. Eraman employees in Spain discuss decisions and reach agreements to benefit all. Both companies use CoopCycle software, which is governed cooperatively by a federation of bike delivery co-ops.

New systems are being tried out as the world looks forward to a better future following more than a decade of economic and social turmoil. Workers are also taking matters into their own hands by demanding a more sustainable, equitable way of working.

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