On-demand … and organized!

Christopher Land-Kazlauskas, Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining Specialist and Hannah Johnston, Technical Officer, Research Department

Pick up a magazine, access a blog or scroll through your Facebook feed, and you’re likely to see some reference to the gig economy. From Uber advertisements to advice on how to thrive – or avoid pitfalls – in the gig economy, digital labour platforms have made a bold entrance into the world of work.

Web-based platforms harness technology to connect workers with one-off, on-demand jobs, or ‘gigs’. While some see on-demand work as a way to improve efficiency for firms and create more flexible earning opportunities for workers, the gig economy has also been associated with unstable earnings, unpredictable scheduling and poor opportunities for development and advancement for workers, as well as a source of unfair competition for companies.
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Technology through the lens of occupational hazards and risks

Nancy Leppink, Chief of the ILO’s Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch

The premise of occupational safety and health – my field of specialization — is that work should do no harm to health and in the best of worlds, should support it. But discerning whether technology and new forms of work are doing harm or doing good can often be tricky.

Let me give a personal example:

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Why financial services matter in the fight against climate change

Craig Churchill, Chief, ILO’s Social Finance Programme

As extreme weather events increase in intensity and frequency, building up the resilience of the poorest communities – often the most exposed to climate change – is critical. And financial services have a role to play.

For poor families the impact of extreme weather, such as floods and droughts, often lead to the loss of livelihoods. This in turn forces families to resort to damaging coping mechanisms, including skipping meals, taking children out of school and borrowing money at high rates. It leaves them even more vulnerable to the next disaster.
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