Will Trade Unions Survive in the Platform Economy? Emerging Patterns of Platform Workers’ Collective Voice and Representation in Europe

35 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2018

See all articles by Kurt Vandaele

Kurt Vandaele

European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)

Date Written: June 19, 2018

Abstract

Via a non-exhaustive mapping of various examples in Western European countries, this Working Paper explores to what extent the collective representation and voice of digital platform workers are being shaped by current dynamics in the platform economy. The argument is developed that currently emerging patterns hint at a possible co-existence or combinations of mainstream trade unions and other unions and union-like organisations defending platform workers’ needs and interests. Patterns in representation forms reveal a demarcation between the logic of membership and the logic of influence. Though not new, this demarcation has become more exposed, prevalent and salient since the platform economy, also in highly institutionalised labour markets. The Working Paper also emphasises that any meaningful analysis of the representation and voice of platform workers should consider the diversity of platforms and the associated variance in the power resources of platform workers.

Keywords: digital economy ; sharing economy ; technological change ; trade union ; workers representation ; labour relations ; work organization ; crowd work ; Western Europe

Suggested Citation

Vandaele, Kurt, Will Trade Unions Survive in the Platform Economy? Emerging Patterns of Platform Workers’ Collective Voice and Representation in Europe (June 19, 2018). ETUI Research Paper - Working Paper 2018.05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198546 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3198546

Kurt Vandaele (Contact Author)

European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) ( email )

B-1210 Brussels
Belgium

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