The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> Alexandre: We may start and you can have more time to discuss, but we hope that Mr. Thomas will be able to join us.
Please, Rafael Evangelista.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Welcome to workshop 232. The title of this workshop is Mind the gap: Digital labor and international frameworks.
My name is Rafael Evangelista. I'm an anthropologist and professor at the state University of Campinas in Brazil. I'm also with the CGI.br, representing the academic sector.
I will be the moderator of the session.
Here with us, we have Uma Rani, ILO, Intergovernmental Organization, Asia‑Pacific Group.
We're hoping to have Yaseen Aslam. We were expecting him, but he is ill. So he will not join us today. He was going to represent the United Kingdom Uber Drivers Union, but, unfortunately, he would not make it.
We're also expecting Thomas Dorson to join us later.
This is how we're going to go. The workshop is organized in five sections of discussions.
First, we're going to have Uma Rani. We will open to debate. Presenting a global overview of digital platform impacts and how ILO is addressed in the digital labor challenges.
Then we'll have a discussion led by Rafael Grohman and Angeliki Moraiti.
We'll talk about the work and how it's been applied in the Internet scope. They will address some of the impacts of the digital labor platforms in working conditions in the Global South as well.
Following that, we will have a more empirical discussion. It was supposed to be with Yaseen Aslam and Thomas Dorson, but now we're just going to have Thomas giving us some concrete examples of resistant tactics to prevent digital erroration of digital conditions.
Then we'll have a discussion kindly moderated by Uma Rani.
Please prepare your questions for the moment and save those questions. This is going to be very important for us.
And, finally, to wrap up, we will have a brief concluding closing remarks by the panelists.
Since we don't have Yaseen with us, I think it's okay that you can have some extra minutes. So feel free to expand your ideas.
Before giving the floor to Moraiti, let me just give you some context.
The digital labor platform models have led to the deterioration of (?) There's a direct consequence of technological advancement. The ILO, the International Labour Organization, has developed frameworks in partner with local and international organizations to contribute with policymaking in order to ensure decent digital work.
However, there are mismatches between international and local policies in terms of both digital and labor regulations that must be identified and addressed. This is one of our goals today.
The workshop aims at discussing digital policy alternatives to improve the digital platforms role in providing productive employment, rights, and non‑exploitative work.
We'll address the following issues in the workshop, A, to present an overall impact of the Internet economy to labor conditions with an emphasis on the Global South; B, access the ILO's framework to cope with the challenge of digital platform labor and how it has been used in different regions and stakeholders; and, C, discuss new policy perspectives to address the challenges of a changing scenario in the labor field.
So here today, we expect to, one, explore the limits of the ILO framework all while increasing investments in decent and sustainable work for the digital wage; two, discuss a new policy perspectives regarding a match between local labor policies and international frameworks, also considering connectivity issues.
Also, as a member of the Brazilian Internet Committee, it's our goal to bring this to the Internet Governance Forum IGFs and the Steering Committees.
Our perspective today is the perspective of the Global South region which plays a major role in digital labor and also users of digital platform services.
Without further ado, I give the floor to Uma Rani.
>> Uma Rani: Thank you for introducing me and setting the context. It's a pleasure to be here and talk to you all.
What I thought I would do, instead of using a presentation today, actually give you a quick roadmap of what's been happening in the world with regard to the digital economy and digital labor platforms.
There was an outline of why there was a rise of the digital economy and what are the factors that contributed to it? What does the platform business model look like? And what are the implications of such a business model on the workers? What have countries been doing with regard to actually addressing some of the issues related to the working conditions of the workers? And it goes about laying it down 15 recommendations that not only fall within the field of labor law but also touches upon competition law and other laws, emerging laws, related to (?).
It goes about pointing out based on data that it has collected for this particular report that, you know, these platforms have been rising, and it shows that it is a fivefold increase. This is not a phenomenon that is small. It's growing. It's growing because of the availability of cloud infrastructure and cloud storage which has actually allowed businesses to come in and set up because it's a very low‑entry cost phenomenon today.
That's why you see, in a sense, these platforms coming up in a big way, and you have venture capitalists interested in investing because there's always this notion that exists. If one platform can dominate and monopolize the markets across the world, then you can win as a result of it and have huge capital gains as a result of it.
So this is what has been one of the motivations around it.
But what it also shows about ‑‑ the report shows that there is a huge digital divide that exists, both in terms of, you know, the kind of investments that are being put, in but, also, where these enterprises are being set up. They're largely dominated in the U.S. and China and a couple of other countries where you have huge investments coming in while much of the other Global South countries, whether you're talking about Latin America, Africa, or Middle East, it's a very small proportion. It's only about four persons per investment.
I think for us, as an organization, from where we come, they are transforming the world of work. I think that's why we're getting into this issue. That is where our concern is. There three reasons to transform. I think this is very important to understand. The first one is the management practices that has been introduced along with this model is a huge departure from what we know of the human management practices that many traditional companies had, and you have ‑‑ whether it's allocation of work, whether it's monitoring, whether it's evaluation. Finally, it's all (?) Managed.
Now, this has huge implications. It has implications on who is going to get the work, and who is going to get the work depends on the readings. The metrics that is used are ratings. If you have very good ratings, then you can get the work, but it's not enough.
You have platforms in freelance where you could have a very good rate range, but you will not have the ability to pay, to actually put your proposals or to actually try to get your proposals recognized. As a result, you might not get it. This is something we have system systematically, workers from the Global South not being able to bid for higher proposals or highlight the proposals for them to get the job.
Now, while ratings is very important ‑‑ and, you know, there's this whole notion that exists with the platform saying that you have the flexibility, you have the freedom to, you know, take whatever job you want when you want. And we have seen repeatedly, through our service that we have done with both the taxi and the delivery workers, that when a worker ‑‑ a taxi driver get as ride or a worker gets an order, they have a few seconds, 15 to 40 seconds, to decide whether to take it or not. If they decide not to take that particular ride or order, there is a penaltization, or punishment, that happens, and that takes the form of you not being able to access more work in the future. It could last from a day to months. You could be deactivated. More importantly are, your ratings come down.
So it has a huge impact on the same performance evaluator that you're talking about. Now, all of this, what does that mean for the worker? It means it is difficult for them to access work. You can get deactivated at the click of a button without even knowing why that was there. It has a huge implication on the earnings of many of these workers.
We have also seen on some platforms the entire process is mathematically determined. You have an algorithm determining if the task you did is right or wrong. If it decides the work is wrong, the worker is rejected, and you're not paid.
There are certain mechanisms set up in the platform, in the design, where every task takes so much time. It may take more than that time, but it is clocked in a way that you have to finish the work within that time. If you don't finish, the work is off. You have no mechanism to talk to a human being on these platforms to discuss what needs to be done about it.
You know, the communication flow does not exist. When your task is rejected or when the work disappears or whether you're deactivated. I think this is fundamental that you see in all of the platforms that are there.
So I think this is important because this has implications on the kind of pay or earnings you earn by the end of the day because you do not earn enough, you end up working very long hours. This is particularly a big problem when you see when we talk about taxi and delivery workers.
The taxes on these drivers are huge, which is more put on the working class mentioned.
It's very celebrated that platforms are (?)‑like because they're shifting the entire responsibility of capital. Whether you're talking about a taxi or a computer on an online platform, onto the worker. As a result, they do not have to make the investments, and, also, the risks that are associated with it, whether you have a regularity or whether you have jobs or whether there are other things, this is not what the platform actually takes on itself. It's all pushed onto the workers.
So this is one of the major shifts that we see. That is something that we really need to think about because this is changing what a definition of a firm is and what the boundaries of a firm are. I think it's, for us, quite important to look at that.
The third, which is again from an (?) Point of view. You know, we all talk about duality; right? Especially when you're in the Global South countries, it's part and parcel of our life because informality exists in various forms in the labor market.
What is very interesting with the platform business model is it creates duality throughout the platform. So it has ap workforce whom it employs. You actually set up all the technology and to manage the workers, and then you have the whole services that is actually outsourced. So they become mediators in actually getting the work done.
To this is fundamental change that you see, and this is something that has led to a huge debate across a number of countries in the world saying that, you know, given the nature of tasks that these workers perform, you know, they should be classified as employees because the algorithm directs you. It allocates tasks. It directs how you should do it, and you have monitoring mechanisms through the software and hardware tools, whether on‑location based or online based. You know how the task is being done. And the whole process is depending on it.
The technology can help you track all of this. So, you know, this is very clearly a relationship of that of an employee and not that of a self‑employed or independent contractor. This is a fundamental issue of misclassification or doing a correct classification that needs to be taken into consideration.
I think these are broadly the kind of issues which are very clearly seen emanating from the platforms. What the platforms have done, very smartly, is they have the Terms of Service Agreement, which goes into defining what the conditions of the workers will be. These agreements are unilaterally determined by them without having a dialogue with the workers or associations or worker unions, whatsoever. This creates quite a bit of problem because you can unilaterally decide what can change. This is not an easy access that the worker has to actually negotiate because your negotiating is basically when you log into an account, you accept everything. Otherwise, you can't get work or you cannot get an account.
So, you know there's no point of negotiation that exists anywhere within that.
So we tried to do a survey of workers across the globe, specifically for taxi and delivery in the Global South countries. What we clearly find is huge challenges with regard to low pay, not having enough to earn, long working hours, having issues around occupational safety and health, and the implications of (?) Management practices, which leads to a huge stress on many of them.
One of the things we do ‑‑ and this is very important for us ‑‑ is to look at what is it in the legislative field, you know, that needs to be done? Here we have a whole dedicated chapter. There are rights that are applicable to all workers irrespective of what your contract agreement says.
It doesn't matter if you're classified as an employee or self‑employed. That is applicable too.
Other than that, you have a number ‑‑ I think we're going to talk more in the details of that, but you have other key labor standards, actually, which is applicable to workers irrespective of your contract. This is like the occupational safety and health, Social Security, employment and job creation, and labor inspection. All of this is applicable to all. It doesn't differentiate which kind of an employment status that you are basically in.
There's items in place. It's all politic to believe ‑‑ it's all applicable to all workers.
So there are recommendations, there are principles that are there that could be easily adopted to ensure that workers have decent working conditions. But because the platforms are using the terms of service agreement, now this becomes very important.
Now, what we have also seen is that countries have adopted mechanisms to address these issues of working conditions, but it is all very peaceful. What is quite interesting to see is in the Global South, much of it is around occupation and safety and Social Security while that in global is (?) Around employment relationship and much of it coming out of court and judicial decisions based on the autonomy and control of the same.
So, given the kind of variation that is there and the regulatory uncertainty that is there, it's called for an international policy dialogue in coordination to have a dialogue with the workers, governments, and platform companies to discuss about the various issues related to working conditions, not only within the labor law but emerging law and competition law because if you start classifying workers as self‑employed, then the right to collectively bargain is part of the laws. So that needs to be brought into.
So one of the next steps of the ILO is to have a technical expert meeting, which has now been approved by the governing body, and this will be held next year, the second half, and we look forward to having very productive discussions to see how to take the issues relating to this forward.
Lastly, let me end by saying that the EU legislative is coming out, and I think it gives us quite a bit of thought with regard to what needs to be done moving forward with this issue.
So, thank you very much for having me.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thank you, Uma. Thank you very much.
I will give the floor to Rafael.
>> RAFAEL GROHMAN: Yeah.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thanks, Rafael, for being with us today.
>> RAFAEL GROHMAN: Thank you for having me. Thank you for the reputation, Rafael. I agree with Uma Rani in this explanation about international frameworks.
I will talk about my work here in Brazil and theoretical experiences and my work in the (?) Project. First of all, I want to think about the names of platform labor and what is the names to understand platform labor and how "gig economy" expression is a little bit wrong about Global South perspectives and Global South framework because gig economy is not a novelty in Global South because gig is historically a norm of working-class people in many countries of the Global South.
So, for me, gig economy is an expression to some few cities in the world and try to totalize this. People from Brazil, for instance, the novelty is not a gig because gig, historically, is the norm for survival, but the novelty is the assumption or control of digital platforms to exploit and control the work. It's not exactly the gig itself.
For me, it's very important to put into discussion. Other acute things about understanding platform labor from Global South is that Global South is not the same everywhere. In the fair work, we are seeing many perspectives in the Global South or even Latin America and Africa. There are many different scenarios around platform labor.
The other thing is the Global South is not exotic. We are not exotic. Many research puts the frameworks of platform labor in Global South as hating labor or hating workers or ghost workers or something like this. And my colleague from India invites us to think about the political and ethical consequences naming workers as "invisibles" and how those frameworks can be introspective of, oh, I'm from Global North. I'm a journalist or researcher saying that, Oh, see these workers here.
So we can move this hating or ghost or invisible perspectives around platform labor because people can work for Amazon or a click‑farm platforms from their homes, but they are not ghosts. This can be towards distant work standard.
So, for me, platformization work means dependency on digital platforms like management, surveillance of workers to ‑‑ this is to achieve work activities. This digital platforms presents a diversity of profiles of platforms of design and different profiles of workers, too, regarding work of riders or drivers, in regard to microworkers or regarding click farms or even regarding the work of streamers, YouTubers, influencers, tech workers who also depend on digital platforms and are also organizing associations and so on.
With different regards, there's a dependency on these mechanisms.
In Brazil, we have many click‑farm platforms who are paid to follow Instagram profiles and TikTok accounts to boost platforms for politicians and celebrities, et cetera. It reminds us they have connections between platform labor and the information‑for‑hire or platform labor and political communication and so on.
And one of the challenges here is, for instance, regulation, public policies, and also the promotion of fair work and distant work and, also, how to connect the regulation of digital platforms and regulation of social media platforms.
There people working with social media platforms and transcribing videos for TikTok.
I'm working with a project led by the University of Oxford. I'm the principal investigator in Brazil. We are in action research now in 26 countries around the world evaluating digital platforms regarding fair workplace principles. These principles build with many workers and associations and local stakeholders around the world, and these principles are updated each year. So we are very open to discuss the principles with you.
The fair work principles put many dimensions around distant work in digital platforms regarding fair pay, including minimum wage and living wage too. There's data in Brazil regarding what counts as living wage in Brazil regarding statistics around that and methodologies for counting living wage in Brazil. This is a real gap.
The second principle is around fair conditions around health, physical and mental health, and how platforms can take active measures to promote the health and safety of workers, including the data of these workers. It's so important to us.
The third principle is fair contracts about terms and conditions. Should we transfer it, always (?) To workers, free of clauses, it's a true liability on the part of platforms, and should be constant with the terms of workers engagement on the platforms to ‑‑ independent on the classification as workers and so on.
And the principle is regarding fair management. So platforms have to show us due process for decisioning ‑‑ decisions affecting workers, and there must be the ability to appeal decisions, such as disciplinary actions and the use of other (?) Need to be a little bit transparent and results in suitable outcomes for workers.
So the platform should be identifiable and documentative policies that ensure equity regarding gender, race, equity, and the way workers are managed on a platform in the hiring, discipline, or firing of workers too.
So the principle five is around fair representation. So what are the mechanisms with which the worker's voices can be expressed regarding democratic governance and so on and how platforms can ensure fairer representation regarding workers organizations.
So these five principles are applied to 26 countries now regarding what they call "gig work" and "cloud work." I don't agree with these names because "cloud work," the cloud is not actually a cloud. The "gig work," I told you my disagree.
Some questions to our panel is: In Latin America, so far, no platform is below three and a maximum of 10 points in our recent report in America. It's different in relation to Africa.
Last week, we launched a Ghana report. We have three platforms above five points and a maximum of 10. But in Latin America, no platforms have reached around three or four or something like that.
What are the gaps? Maybe the over exploitation. How can we move some fair work principles to ensure this fair work principles.
In Brazil, the platforms want to put alternative fair work principles. I will give an example.
A Brazil think tank is building an alternative fair work principles like creating lower fair work principles, and they want to write a commitment letter to platforms regarding fair work principles in Brazil.
For me, this is a try to fair washing. This is a concern for our side, how to prevent lobbying and PR actions from platform regarding fair work principles because we discovered that the think tank wants to publish this alternative and lower fair work principles after our report launching in Brazil.
So this type of lobbying and PR actions is a concern regarding our tentative in trying to regulate and really promote this distance work because the expression, the grammar of fair work is also on the move of COs, too, and how to prevent this fair washing or something like that.
And to finish, we have to promote and incubate a prototype and accelerate an alternative platform to local platforms, worker‑owned platforms, or the well‑named platform of (?). But beyond a newer framework, only by (?) Perspectives, we want to put beyond ‑‑ we want to put principles of platform cooperatives from the Global South.
For instance, the homeless workers movement in Brazil created an application called higher struggles connecting workers for homeless and people who need workers, painters, designers, and so on.
Neither is exactly a platform. Neither is exactly a co‑op, but trying to put and build alternative technologies.
So, for me, there is another gap regarding the connections around workers organizing and workers' organizations and open technologies and free technology movements in healthcare labs, even in South America and Latin America. We have a great history around open and free technologies.
Yes, a colleague, Karen Gregory (phonetic), published on "Wire" a piece regarding data science that can show us how to fix the gig economy and around worker‑led observatories and how this worker data science can improve worker conditions and worker experience and worker knowledge about their own work.
This can be very powerful.
Another important gap in how to ensure data stewardships and how to promote, also, data co‑ops in the platform co‑ops and beyond the platform co‑ops, data types are trying to fight against data colonies too.
To these are my initial thoughts.
Thank you so much.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thank you, Rafael Grohman.
Angeliki Moraiti, please.
>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: So my name is Angeliki. I have been working on platform‑related issues. In my brief presentation today, I will be picking up from where my colleague left off, and I will explore.
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>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: On the first part, I will go over examples of framework as well as actions from platform and social partners in an effort to showcase the diversity of policy action in this area.
In the second part, briefly examine some areas that go beyond labor law, primarily data protection and the emerging (?) Artificial intelligence which are also very crucial in ensuring decent work on‑platform work.
As Dr. Morani pointed out, there are applications to workers irrespective of employment spaces and notwithstanding their (?).
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>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: Countries have been very active in these principles.
So the first one is to universalize certain standards. Arguably, this is the more inclusive and effective form of regulation, and it's in line with the ILO as well.
In a similar vein, in Australia and New Zealand, health and safety laws apply to all workers. They do that by adopting statutory language that is more inclusive.
For example, instead of saying employer and employee, they say a person conducting a business and a worker.
The second regarding platform work ‑‑
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>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: ‑‑ there's methods to help workers achieve a price for their service.
In addition, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, workers had their health risks reduced through health and safety regulations and also recognize the (?) Of platforms in this area.
Specifically to platform workers, the main limitation is they fail to address broader trends of misclassification, informality for which platform work is, arguably, only one example.
And the final broad form of regulatory intervention in the field of platform work is to reclassify platform workers as employees and bring them into the labor and social protection. This, again, can happen by state regulation or judicial decision.
For example, in Spain, earlier this year, there was a law that requires delivery platforms to reclassify their drivers as employees. Courts all over the world have been reclassifying workers. They have been doing that by adapting the constitutive elements of control. They have been finding things like GPS tracking of platforms, their determination of crucial aspects, such as setting the price, matching the users, the activating users, all of these are indicative of a lack and true entrepreneur activity.
So, therefore, they are indicative of an employment relationship.
Now, the problem with judicial decisions regarding the status of platform workers is that they often conflict with each other, and they create regulatory uncertainty.
At the same time, they're very important because gradually, they are leading to more inclusive definitions of workers. That will be crucial to ensuring decent work for emerging forms of work.
Now, social partners and platform companies have also further been taking action to ensure decent work.
So, for instance, an example that is often quoted in the literature is the collective agreement between the United Federation of Danish Workers and the (?) Platform. It allows them to transition. More than one‑third of the workers chose this.
Another example is from Germany.
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>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: ‑‑ it resolves (?) Between workers and platform (?).
Data protection law is very important for platform workers. First of all, data is essential to the platforms, and, second of all, because data protection laws apply to workers irrespective of their employment status.
Now, in this field, Europe's General Data Protection Regulation is a standard. What it does is lays down a list of individual data rights, such as a right to data access, erasure, et cetera. But (?) Subject to automated decision‑making.
The reason I say this is because automated decision‑making is essential to key aspects of platforms operations, from setting prices to matching users to deactivating them and so on.
So this really has the potential to address the capacity at the heart of the systems, which is also the root concern of platform workers.
The scope of this was tested earlier this year for the first time in cases brought by Uber and drivers in the Netherlands.
And the case that concerned an automated system of giving monetary penalties for invalid rides, a court, for the first time, recognized a right to obtain information, which explained the logic of an automated system.
Now, rides concerning automated decision‑making are also found in data protection laws around the world but often in more limited scope.
So, for instance, in the Brazilian General Data Protection Regulation, we have a right to review decisions based on automated decision‑making. So they're not subject to them, to begin with.
Now, another data‑related issue I would like to touch upon is the issue of collected data rights. What happens on the platform is we have the default extraction and ownership of data by the platforms themselves, which means that workers are very often unable to leverage the intelligence of their own data to, for instance, engage in effective social (?) And improve their conditions of work.
So we very clearly need a data governance that shifts (?) To the producer.
There have been recommendations in this area. For instance, a regulatory committee in India has proposed such a regime. So through measures which include other mandatory data sharing.
Moving on to the final part, laws that regulate AI applications are also very important too. As I mentioned, platforms use automated systems and algorithms to determine various aspects of the services. Laws that directly regulate technology hold a great potential to address issues of fairness and transparency on the platforms.
Though they're at the basic stage, they're gaining prominence.
This year, the European Commission adopted a (?) Which, among other, imposes requirements to artificial intelligence that pose a high risk. This is also in the employment context. These requirements include things such as human oversight and quality, reporting obligation, and more.
But what I would like to point out is that there is really a need for regulation on AI that comes from the labor sphere as well. It outlines clear for social partners, vis‑à‑vis, AI applications in the workplace.
And to conclude, as my colleague, Dr. Morani pointed out, in order to ensure decent work on platforms, we really need to resolve this issue of regulatory uncertainty that is being created by having a patchwork of regulatory interventions.
To do that, we really need some form of international policy dialogue and policy coordination.
Thank you very much. This concludes my presentation.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thank you, Angeliki.
We don't have Thomas with us. So the session we were planning to have this empirical discussion will not happen. So we can go directly to our open discussion that will be led by Uma Rani.
I have a few questions, but I will give the floor to you. I will address these questions later.
So, please, Uma.
>> Uma Rani: Do you want me to take the floor and organize the discussion?
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Yes.
>> Uma Rani: I'm happy to do that.
So you've all heard different perspectives with regard to the digital platforms and what is happening with the Global South.
I do not disagree that gig work is not new to Global South, and it has been there.
Yes. We know it by a different name. It's called casual labor. You work based on whether you get a work for a couple of hours or a day or half a day. And this has been pressing for centuries in much of the Global South. This is coming up on a new phenomenon in Global north. That's one reason it's been picked up as a gig.
There are two important points I would like to put on the table so we can go about discussing. I'm thinking about it in that there's a larger notion. Once you have good levels of education or a good education and graduated or a postgraduate, then there's an automatic transfer of that education leading to having a good job in a formal sector with all the benefits.
But what do you see today? I think this is very important for us to keep that angle in mind. What you see largely today is you have very highly educated workforce, not finding any employment opportunities, largely because we don't have a proper planning strategy or an employment policy that is there which tries to see what is educated workforce coming out, what are the needs of the market, or what is the direction we need to go in?
Instead, what has happened is governments are starting to see that all platforms have come in. They can create employment. So let's jump onto the bandwagon. They're all jumping in and setting up infrastructure and not questioning the platform model itself. I think that's problematic, according to me.
I think that is something we need to take head‑on. These highly educated workforce, I think Rafael did mention about content regulators. This highly educated workforce is not able to find work in their own economies. So they get onto the platform. We've seen survey data that workers are working for a very long number of years on this, doing tasks that are far below their skill levels, far below. So there's a complete mismatch between the education and what they are doing.
To give you a quick example, IT workers, people who have graduated with information technology or computer science, are doing content moderation on online platforms or new (?) That come in. What is the content moderation they do? They scan through thousands of images and see whether they should go online or not. They become the new firewall for the vet, saying what can go in or what cannot. So there's a control mechanism this has come in, and these workers are doing these jobs. They're young.
I think, for me, the fundamental question is: What is the future for them? There are social impacts there as a result of it.
I think the debate for us in the Global South is both the quality of work and also the content of work. So you know you have a digital sweatshop of labor coming into the Global South. How do we handle that?
The second thing I want to raise is what Angeliki talked about.
As of now, the (?) Are part of the eCommerce trade roots. They're not part of the labor law. So if an algorithm directs, evaluates, monitors, and rewards, that has to be brought into the labor law. And I think that's a discussion, again, that we need to have.
So I think with this, I'm going to stop. I'm going to open up. Please feel free to ask questions.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: I have some comments and questions about my aspects of things you said, but maybe I will just make these comments, and I will not direct ‑‑ perhaps I will ‑‑ direct any questions to anyone.
But I just want to start by commenting on the (?) Issue. My question is: Do you think that maybe algorithm transparency is an important thing to be inserted, to be part of a labor regulation in terms of ‑‑ because the algorithms are managing the workers, and there's no transparency. They don't know how they are being managed. Perhaps algorithm transparency can help them to know how they're being evaluated, how the labor is being allocated, et cetera.
My second comment is also related to that. If we ‑‑ maybe we can think of bringing labor regulations to the discussion of platform regulations. You know, I think all around the world, governments and social movements are discussing how to regulate the platforms.
Perhaps we should bring the discussion to the platform regulations, which is what is the best access to these regulations.
Now I have a comment that's perhaps more directed to my colleague Rafael ‑‑ also Rafael ‑‑ but this touches on some points that you had been commenting until now.
We have many workers in Brazil that they don't want to be one of the ‑‑ I think it's one of the major issues in terms of organizing labor around platform work. They don't want to be classified as workers. They see themselves as entrepreneurs, et cetera.
I think maybe we have some ideological challenges that I think is very important in terms of organizing the labor movements. I'm thinking about the thing that Rafael said about the PR and all the efforts that platforms are doing to counter the efforts of the labor movement in terms of establishing basic conditions. They're bringing their own concept of decent work or trying to convince people that their standards are better than others.
How do you think of that in terms of these ecological charges that we have.
I have a final question.
Oh, just a comment. And it's very important ‑‑ I like this comment that Rafael made about creative workers. I think it's very important to consider, also, YouTubers, influencers, and people working on this, they ask workers, and in that sense, the algorithm transparency is also a challenge. Also, this ideological question is also a challenge because they see themselves as creative workers, but they are ‑‑ on a day‑to‑day bases, their living in conditions that are very similar to any other platform workers.
Thank you for your comments and presentations.
>> Uma Rani: Thank you. Are there any questions? I think it would be useful to take these questions and them come back.
Okay. Let me just go on the ‑‑
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have a question.
>> Uma Rani: Introduce yourself.
>> VITEK: I work on a global platform where people can do things that are able to deliver by the Internet. So this is like a platform where the digital work is mainly done, I think. I think this is the most ‑‑ like, the biggest platform that there is for such services, and I wanted to ask you about your ‑‑ like your opinion on it because I know that the algorithm ‑‑ the algorithm ‑‑ the transparency of the algorithm is there because the sources that Fiverr gives, everyone can see how the sellers are based. Like how the sellers are assessed, by their performance. So you can really learn very much how different things that you do influence how the algorithm shows you on the website.
Yeah. I want to ask you about your opinion on Fiverr because we mainly talked about the taxi drivers, the deliveries of food, but do you have any opinion on platforms like Fiverr, like maybe app work?
>> Uma Rani: Uh‑huh. Sure. I can't see anyone else, unless you've raised your hand.
If you do, you can raise your hands with the button, reaction button.
Okay. Let's go this round. If you have any other thoughts, you put it into the chat box.
Let me start back and give the flow first back to Angeliki.
>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: Thank you. I would discuss the point that you raised. Yes, I think it is crucial. Just a very simple example, how can we tell whether a platform discriminates or impedes on labor rights if we cannot see how it makes crucial decisions, and everything is electronic on platforms. We don't have an employer, so to speak, a human employer to talk to. So it's crucial to simply be able to enforce the rights that workers already have.
There was an example of a court decision that, basically, if you canceled a lot of rides, it deactivated you, but it never asked why you were canceling. So it was clearly thought that this algorithm was discriminatory. This is kind of why we need algorithm transparency to see the algorithmic systems basically abide by these rights.
This is what I wanted to comment on. Thank you.
>> Uma Rani: Thanks, Angeliki.
Over to you, Rafael, if you want to comment on others ‑‑
>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: One thing ‑‑ excuse me. Work councils have co‑(?) Rights when it comes to (?) In the workplace ‑‑
(Audio is cutting in and out)
>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: When an algorithmic system is being implemented to a system that's being used in the workplace, workers can have a voice to ask questions about the technology to make sure that it respects certain rights.
>> Uma Rani: No worries. No worries. Thanks, Angeliki.
Rafael, over to you.
>> RAFAEL GROHMAN: Yeah. Thank you for your insightful questions and provoking thoughts.
First of all, about algorithm transference, I agree with the importance of putting the algorithm transparency in the highlight of the platform labor regulation, but this understanding of transparency cannot be naive because, by standard or by definition, algorithms cannot be fully transparent because maybe my colleagues from law, legal people, understanding maybe this transparency without SPSS background, about how algorithms really work.
I don't know if it's better to talk about algorithm fairness or algorithm justice, but I (?) With the name and how this may be a naive understanding of transparency. But I agree regarding the importance of that.
I'm in Barcelona now for an academic mission. I talked yesterday with the people in Open Data Barcelona here. We talked about this topic, essentially. They are working here about algorithm transparency in with the mayor of Barcelona here. There's a similar debate on AI ethics area too. Similar debates also regarding how Big Tech are saying ‑‑ or putting this forward regarding AI ethics.
I agree about the relationships between social ‑‑ regulation of social media platforms and regulation of digital labor platforms. This can be different than separated or isolated one.
I always talk about a book from my colleague, Colin Kant (phonetic). He highlights workers from the UK several times. He talks about Brazilian workers starting strikes in the UK. Whoa! The first strike of UK born by (?) Workers. But they're supporters of (?). So workers are organizing, and the ethical struggles are very complex, in Brazilian context.
(?) From the Philippines says (?) This play in WhatsApp groups and how do workers, at the same time, have organizes solidarities and at the same time their (?) Rationality regarding their own classification as workers and so on?
On the one hand, we cannot put ‑‑ okay. We are researchers. We know what the workers want. I see many researchers saying, The workers are wrong!
But how to understand these contributions and to put this thing ‑‑ there's workers saying I'm not a worker, but I'm trying to survive.
So this is an etiological struggle around the world. I see the same thing in the drivers' struggle here. We're not (?) Supporters but with similar challenges.
For me, another gap is regarding understanding YouTubers and influencers as workers. There's union s in the Germany and the UK claiming for algorithmic transparency too and clear rules regarding democratization.
How can fair work principles relate to work on streamers on Twitch. It's an interest thing about Twitch workers organizing in Brazil because in this year, the Twitch streamers organized a strike here in Brazil. First of all, they build a Twitch union, but many streamers does not like the left wing and don't like the term union because it's more near left wing and so on. And they changed the name from Streamers Union to Streamers Association. I don't remember the exact name. To put we are not from the left wing.
This is about the challenges regarding workers organizing here.
Maybe a spoiler. Soon, we'll start to score and evaluate, in fair work, platforms such as Only Fans, and this can be very important and very interesting and looking forward to discussing this with you in the future.
>> Uma Rani: Thank you, Rafael, for your intervention.
And we have just about 12 minutes to go. What I'm going to do is quickly respond to the questions I've got from Rafael as well as the colleague on the floor and Alexandra. I will hand it back over to you, Rafael, for the closing remarks.
The second thing is, what are the conditions that are actually imposed to result in the kind of outcomes that come by? And, again, these conditions can be open and discussed. I don't think there is nothing within the condition that cannot be discussed.
And, also, what is the kind of regulatory environment? It could be a regulatory environment that allows that to do on without actually cushioning it? When I think about transparency, I think about the conditions. I think about the data. I do feel that some of this can be easily made available, which is, at the moment not. One can argue that these are part of the trade secret laws ‑‑ trade secrets to the companies. How do you come up with things that you have in the end? I think this is open for debate.
The second, about platform framework, the way the framework works, we cannot set up regulations overnight. Theres is a process that is followed. The process is this item has to come up for a discussion at the governing body. We've had two discussions now for now, almost two years, to whether we could have a meeting on the subject. Finally, we got an approval this year. The two reports that are brought out, one in 2018 on Microsoft platforms and this global one, looking at a whole range of platforms were pushing for a technical meeting. You need to build evidence within the ILO with regard to this subject and then make the request.
Once you have the technical meeting ‑‑ and this is where the importance of countries in the Global South really comes in. The expert meeting consists of members. It's not the entire general assembly, but it is workers from different parts of the world and employers from different parts of the world. What they try to do is not have the worker, employer, and the government from the same country, but they disperse it because we have 189 member states as part of the ILO. So there's a representation process that goes on.
And you have representatives from countries like Latin America, Asia, America represented that speak for that particular group. So we have the GRULAC members that speak and then you have the Africa group. So your views, whatever you have, someone is represented and led and communicated in the expert meeting where a decision will then be taken where this item is up for discussion at the labor conference in the coming two years for a single or double discussion for which then you can set up a convention which basically what are the rules of the game, what needs to be done.
So it's a process. It will take a number of years to happen. We're hoping this item gets picked up for at least discussion in the 2024 or 2025. Even then, it will take two years.
For that, a double discussion of two years that the conference decides not to have a convention, which is happening in the case of global supply chains in the past. So we'll have to see how this entire process goes and be reached there.
For us, the EU directive is really, really important within that context.
And we do hope that we can make some movement.
The third issue that I do want to talk about, which was raised not to me but I do think I wanted to raise it, actually, earlier.
It's the whole issue around creative workers, YouTubers, social media platform workers, tweets, all of it. I think they're all very invisible workers, but I think one needs to actually have a better understanding as to the nature of work, the time spent, the kind of working conditions they have, the kind of earnings that they have before we can get them into a larger regulatory question. We do hear about it. We do see it. I think there's a bit more research to be done in a systematic matter. I've seen YouTube videos that parents use children to come up and do a video, and that generates a hell of a lot of money. So there's a whole lot of things that are happening in the YouTube that one needs to really come down and understand what is it for (?) And pleasure and other purposes. There's a whole lot happening there.
Finally, with regard to platforms like Fiverr, I could ask Angeliki to put it in the chat. The link to the global report we published in 2021, we do go and have a real deep dive into freelance platforms where you find that the situation is not so broadly different from what you would see on taxi and ride‑hailing platforms.
What is rather worse, is what we see, is that on online platforms, you, as a worker, is competing with the global labor force. So you end up underbidding. You end up doing tasks for free, largely because you want to have a good rating, largely because you want to be able to access work.
So I think it gets even worse there, and what we have also found is ratings alone is not sufficient, and you need a whole range of other things to actually be able to even access jobs.
So there's much more vulnerabilities that you see among these platform workers online, and that is something that we really need to take head‑on, and many of them are very highly qualified. And that's an issue ‑‑ that's where I come back and say that while we sort of handle our regulations for digital platforms and similar work, I think at the same time we need to have a very clear, integrated policy framework for employment policies along with industrial and technological policies because without it, we cannot really address this problem.
The reason we've ended up with this problem is because of the massive unemployment that we have. At the same time, we need to remind ourselves that none of the jobs we're doing on platforms are new. They're all being done in the traditional labor market, continue to be done in the traditional labor market, and what the platform is doing is only mediating it. And it cannot use that mediating role to say that it is creating employment.
Thank you very much.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thank you. I was informed that in maybe three minutes, they will automatically cut off our transmission. So that says something about management.
I will hand off the floor to, please, I will ask you to make some brief, final closing statements, saying your goodbyes.
Please, Angeliki, will you start?
>> ANGELIKI MORAITI: Thank you for having me here today. It's been an interesting presentation, interesting discussions. I guess what I want to say is that what I've always found interesting about platform work, I think it's going to be battlefield. What we discuss for platforms is going to be important for the future and in ensuring protection for forms of work that we can't even imagine now that will be touched by technology in perhaps even worse ways than the platform work.
I guess it sounds a bit gloomy but thank you again for having me here today.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thank you.
>> RAFAEL GROHMAN: Thank you. Many times, the future of work, the future of the Internet, the future of technology, we're understood as isolated or something other thing and so on. And we can connect these things and this was an interesting space to discuss and to put and collect about regulation and to promote distant work and platform labor.
Thank you so much.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thank you, Rafael.
>> Uma Rani: Thank you for this opportunity and for this discussion.
I will end by saying it's very important for us, from the Global South, to think about quality of work both in terms of working conditions and (?) Work.
For me, the future of work is here. Let's not look into it. Let's address them now. Thank you for organizing this event.
>> RAFAEL EVANGELISTA: Thank you, Uma.
Thanks again to Rafael, Angeliki, and Uma.
Thank you to all in attendance. It was a very good discussion.
That's it. Bye‑bye.