[PRESS RELEASE] Behind the Scenes of Applications: Decent and Fair Work in the Gig Economy? | DigiTalk #51 x Fairwork Foundation

August 8, 2022 12:43 pm || By

The transformation of consumer serv ice by technology companies opens up opportunities for gig workers. This phenomenon then raises questions related to the welfare of gig workers. CfDS and Fairwork Foundation try to discuss this in DigiTalk #51 “Behind the Scenes of Applications: Decent and Fair Work in the Gig Economy?”. Invited three expert speakers in their fields, namely Arif Novianto (Researcher of the Institute of Governance and Public Affairs), Yoel Krisnanda Sumitro (SVP, Head of Product Design tiket.com), and Ruth Tarullyna Simanjuntak (Researcher for CfDS and Fairwork Indonesia). DigiTalk #51 was successfully held by the support of Deutsche Gesselschaft fur Internationale Zusammernarbeit. Watch the excitement of the discussion again through the CfDS Youtube Channel (https://youtu.be/nu5bqcmH-jE). 

Reviewing Indonesia’s Gig Economic Condition

The difference between gig economy and conventional economic workers, said Arif Novianto lies in the standard of calculating wages or salaries received. If in the conventional economy a worker will be paid based on the amount of time worked, in the gig economy, a worker will be paid based on the amount of services that have been provided or the goods produced. In its development journey, the gig economy system was abandoned by the company because it was considered ineffective and inefficient in controlling its workers. But nowadays, the gig economy system is being implemented again by companies that embrace digitalization. 

According to Arif, the implementation of the gig worker system has created vulnerabilities in terms of income received. The salary system or wages received by independent contract workers of a company, is adjusted to the number of jobs they have successfully done. Because of that, this creates an inconsistency in the amount of decent income that workers receive every day or month. 

“In addition, the vulnerability of income received by gig workers is also influenced by the regulations in force in Indonesia. Because the policy on the online taxi platform is determined by the market mechanism, companies are competing to create the lowest rated because of competition, not tariffs that can provide benefits for their working partners,” said Arif. 

Aspects That Need Attention

Serious problems from the implementation of the gig economy are from the aspect of classification, guaranteed working, hours, income, social protection, and others that require regulation to protect workers so that their welfare level does not decrease due to competition policies between companies. 

In line, Yoel Sumitro said that there are four main players who hold the key in implementing the gig economy system. There are platform companies, partners and consumers, the government, and other parties. Yoel emphasizes, as from the platform company’s perspective, it is necessary to realize that the implementation of the gig economy is not parallel. There will be parties who are more vulnerable than others, so that the company needs to change the mindset by making alignment and balance possible. 

“Our government still doesn’t really care about the gig economy. They still tend to prioritize investment, so they don’t care. Compared to the Western European government, which is more caring and they try to get involved and take part in it,” said Yoel. 

The Efforts to Support the Welfare of Gig Workers

Ruth Simanjuntak agress regarding how regulations in Indonesia have not fully supported the welfare of these gig economy workers. From the research conducted by CfDS with the Fairwork Foundation, it was found that there is inequality that occurs and is experienced by gig workers. There are five judgements or principles that can be seen by consumers or users related to supporting worker welfare. These principles relate to payments, conditions, contracts, company management, and proper representation. 

The gig economy concept applied by the company creates the status of workers who are no longer permanent employees but are categorized as company partners. Platform companies act to adjust the limitations and inequalities of the parties involved. Efforts to create sustainable working can be realized by everyone. Gig workers can still get the main benefits in the concept of the gig economy, without losing a decent living. 

Apart from the company, consumers who use the services of gig workers can participate in supporting the welfare of the workers. Ruth said that one way is for consumers to choose to use the platform that best supports the welfare of their workers. 

“Sometimes, many consumers blame workers for their dissatisfaction with the service. So that workers get a bad rating, which has an impact on the daily performance of workers, and has an impact on their income. Therefore, it is necessary to become a smart consumer in using the platform and care more about workers” closed Ruth.