Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PLUS (Platform Labour in Urban Spaces: Fairness, Welfare, Development)
Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31
PLUS will go beyond the state of the art by providing an integrated view of the impact of the platform economy on the lives of citizens in European cities, encompassing not only the implications for platform workers and their customers but also the workers and users in other service sectors. The ambition is to sketch a meaningful picture of ongoing socio-economic transformations that could summarise the main opportunities and challenges.
These specific goals could be placed as key-contributions into a broader European strategy capable to manage ongoing economic transformations and to rethink welfare and wellness. PLUS meaningfully bridges the European agenda for the collaborative economy and the European Pillar of Social Rights with local dimension where platforms effectively impact.
During the first reporting period we triggered all three levels, but we focused mainly on the first one as the goal has been to elaborate a common perspective and vocabulary for all the projects tasks. We realized all the investigation on the legal conditions for platforms operation producing a multi-level framework including European, national and local legislation; we achieved a definition of a platform business model through the analysis of a large set of existing companies and through the comparison with more cooperative approaches; we examined in depth the genealogy of such business model connecting this with previous industrial revolutions and urban transformations.
At the same time, we set up the field work and triggered the empirical research. After a theoretical inquiry on the existing literature review, we focused on a background research involving stakeholders – unionists, workers, managers, policymakers – immediately in the project through interviews on the impact of platform economy at city level. These outputs allowed us to elaborate a grid of investigation that now all partners involved in case-study investigation are applying in a massive field research finalized to collect semi-structured interviews with platform workers. Furthermore, we worked on the analysis of larger urban impact of platform economy through the assemblage of a wide set of secondary data.
Even if the action-research is planned to start only in the second reporting period, we already started to set up the organization of communities of practices finalized to the production of a Massive Open Online Course for platform workers. At the same time, we are working to improve and optimize stakeholders’ involvement in project activities like Social Policy Labs.
Furthermore, we will work on the production of a Massive Open Online Course to help workers and managers to better approach their job in terms of labour rights, welfare and fairness. The MOOC will be realized with the active contribution of all stakeholders in the definition of the course’ contents.
The intensive field work we are carrying on is contributing to better understand the perspective of different actors involved into platform economy. At the moment, there are several studies on such sector but PLUS will improve the debate focusing on 4 disrupting platforms that represent landmarks for all the other companies. We aim to achieve a solid vision of all the different stakeholders’ perspectives and goals in order to facilitate a social dialogue among them. We will use this theoretical progress to elaborate potential policies of local and European regulation and taxation in order to share advantages and mitigate risks and imbalances.