The gig economy is killing people. An international group of delivery workers
have published information that, for the first time,
is starting to show the scale of the problem. They’ve collected the stories of fourteen
people who’ve died whilst working for platforms
and they’ve only started to scratch the surface of the real problem. Behind each number, there’s a story. Like 21-year-old Artyk,
a migrant from Kyrgyzstan who worked for ten hours
straight for Yandex Food in St Petersburg before collapsing and dying of exhaustion. Or Bill Chen,
who was hit by a bus whilst working for UberEats in Sydney.
The stories of Jorge, Julien, Pablo, Maurizio, Alberto, Frank, Tsu, Jose, Ramon, Pujan,
and Karim are much the same. But why are these workers dying? Is it their
fault? No. Platform workers are usually paid per delivery
and over the last few years, wages have been driven down to poverty levels. Now that means if you want to make a decent
wage, you’ve got to go faster and faster. If you want to make a living you’ve got
to risk your life. This is capitalism, baby. We’re all told that we’re free and equal,
but in reality working class has to risk their lives
for the profits of the ruling class. And the worst thing is, we’re letting them
get away with it. Take Deliveroo for example:
Company’s worth about two billion dollars. But who actually produced that value?
Who made the company worth what it is? Was it the high-paid London tech bros sitting
in their offices sipping flat whites? Or was it exploited workers
rushing pizzas around the city, risking life and limb as they do so? And look there are all sorts of short-term
solutions to this. .
Every platform should be forced to pay a decent hourly wage,
so that workers aren’t rushing in order to try and make enough to live on. But at the same time,
more regulation just isn’t enough. Fundamentally we need to change
the way that the entire economy works. Rather than a system built on shareholder
profits, we need an economy that runs for the many
and is controlled by the people who actually do the work. Platform workers have had enough of this shit,
and the rest of us could learn something from them.
The gig economy is killing people
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