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GCRF Decent Work: FAIRWORK in the Platform Economy in the Global South

GCRF Decent Work: FAIRWORK in the Platform Economy in the Global South


Digital work platforms represent a rapidly growing new economic model that provides employment for millions of workers in the global South. Little is understood about this important emergent form of employment but evidence so far points to inherent precarity and inequality, falling far short of International Labour Organisation’s decent work standards. The platform economy has widened access to work for millions around the world, but at the same time has opened up abuse of workers and erosion of rights through the legal terminology of ‘worker’ – a situation that disproportionately affects women and migrants. Unless action is taken, this insecure, “indecent” work will become the new norm for growing numbers of workers (and especially vulnerable workers) in the South. This project thus aims to understand the contextual, contractual and practical nature of platform work; to identify its shortfall from decent work standards; to contribute to the development of governance and regulation; and to propose and enact new standards of specific relevance to platform work in developing countries.

Main photo credit: shu2260 /

Key Information

  • ESRC
  • Project dates:
    September 2018 - February 2021

    All Publications

    Journal articles
    • FREDMAN, S., du Toit, D. and GRAHAM, M. (2020) "Towards legal regulation of platform work: Theory and practice", Industrial Law Journal (Juta). 41 (2) 1493-1523.
    • Heeks, R., Graham, M., Mungai, P., Van Belle, J.-.P. and Woodcock, J. (2020) "Systematic Evaluation of Platform Work Against Decent Work Standards: Development of a New Framework and Application in the Global South", Digital Development Working Paper. (85).
    • FREDMAN, S., du Toit, D., GRAHAM, M., Howson, K., Heeks, R., van Belle, J.-.P., Mungai, P. and Osiki, A. (2020) "Thinking out of the Box: Fair work for Platform Workers", King's Law Journal. 31 (2) 236-249.
    • Graham, M., Woodcock, J., Heeks, R., Mungai, P., Van Belle, J.-.P., du Toit, D., Fredman, S., Osiki, A., van der Spuy, A. and Silberman, S.M. (2020) "The Fairwork Foundation: Strategies for improving platform work in a global context", GEOFORUM. 112 (2020) 100-103.


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