Skip to content


Protecting Informal Workers in the Gig Economy

Across the globe today, we are witnessing significant shifts in labour markets as the result of an ever-increasing reliance on the gig economy, and particularly the platform economy, by workers and consumers alike. While the rise of the gig economy has produced numerous opportunities and benefits for workers around the world, it has also brought with it challenges and issues relating to the legal classification of gig workers, the working conditions, rights and protections they are afforded and the mechanisms through which these rights and protections are secured. As part of its ongoing involvement in the GLP-Power project, BIICL will be carrying out research into these challenges and the ways in which workers, employers, civil society and governments are taking measures to address them.

Since 2022, BIICL has been involved in the Global Labour Program - Platform for Organizing by Workers for Empowerment and Recognition (GLP-POWER) project, which aims to assess and promote new and innovative modes of organising for marginalized informal and precarious workers in South and Southeast Asia. The project seeks to support workers' agency and effective bargaining, increase the visibility of workers' causes, and support regional solidarity and inclusion while overcoming the impediments and restricted democratic space in their environments.

One subset of workers of particular interest for the project is those operating in the gig economy, and specifically workers offering services through digital labour platforms. As a result of the difficulties in defining the nature and bounds of the relationship between digital labour platforms and workers and the varied conditions under which they carry out work, gig workers face numerous unique challenges and issues in securing favourable working conditions, realising their rights at work and organising and engaging in collective action. However, various innovative measures and actions have also been adopted by workers, employers, civil society and governments around the world to secure better recognition of, and rights for workers in the gig economy and increase their representation and bargaining power.

These challenges and issues, as well as the various measures adopted to overcome and address them, are the subject of research project undertaken by BIICL as part of its contribution to the broader GLP-Power project. BIICL's research will focus on:

  • The prevalence, nature and scope of gig working arrangements in South and Southeast Asia
  • The specific challenges and issues faced by gig workers in the region
  • The protections and rights available to gig workers under international human rights law and international labour standards
  • Legislative measures adopted across jurisdictions to address the unique situation of gig workers and their specific needs and challenges
  • The use of litigation efforts around the world to secure better rights and working conditions for gig workers
  • Modes of organising and strategies for increasing representation for gig workers

The methodology for the research includes desk research and legal analysis, consultations with country-specific grassroots partners and surveys for mapping the needs and challenges of gig workers in the region.

Donate Now Keep In Touch
Save and continue