New Briefing: A Collective Work Agenda for the Digital Economy

How do we get to a collective work agenda for the digital economy? A new FES briefing compares the the situations in the US and Europe.

A collective work agenda for the digital economy

Nguyen, Aiha

A collective work agenda for the digital economy

How do we get there?
Brussels, 2024

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Many of us have encountered a platform worker at some point in our lives, whether it was to order a ride using a mobile app or crossing paths with a food delivery worker speeding food from a nearby restaurant to a customer. During the pandemic, platform workers, like food delivery workers, became hyper-visible, with people in quarantine depending on delivery drivers to bring them basic necessities (De Freytas-Tamura & Singer, 2020). Since then, the number of platform workers has continued to surge. According to a 2021 Pew Charitable Trust survey, 16 percent of Americans stated they have earned money through an online platform (Anderson, McClain, Faverio & Gelles-Watnick, 2021). In Europe, an estimated 28 million workers found employment through a digital platform in 2022, with the Council of the European Union expecting this number to soar to 48 million by 2025 (EU Rules on Platform Work). 

Therefore, in the US and Europe, the new digital economy has led to profound changes in working conditions. These changing dynamics require a decent work agenda based on the needs of workers instead of bearing the imprint of more general public policy structures that often center on consumers and individuals.. This FES briefing provides a comparison between the situations in the US and Europe and analyses how to arrive at a collective work agenda in the digital economy.

About the Author

Aiha Nguyen is the Program Director for the Labor Futures Initiative at at Data & Society Research Institute, where she directs and guides research and engagement. She contributes a practitioner's perspective to this role, having worked for over a decade in community and worker advocacy and organising. Her research interests lie in those areas where labour, technology, and urban studies intersect.

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