Protecting Workers in the Digital Age: Technology, Outsourcing and the Growing Precariousness of Work

21 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2019

See all articles by Janine Berg

Janine Berg

International Labour Office

Date Written: May 31, 2019

Abstract

Debates on the future of work have focused far too much attention on possible job losses, ignoring the deterioration in job quality experienced by many of the world’s workers. This paper explains how technological advances are merely facilitating a decades’ long trend of shifting risk onto workers through outsourcing and the use of other non-standard forms of employment. These transformations have also revealed many longstanding shortcomings of the industrial era of labour protection, which excluded workers outside of traditional, industrial employment, and did not sufficiently value the contributions of unpaid care work. As such it argues that changes in the world of work offer an opportunity to rethink and restructure labour markets to better reflect the needs and realities of 21st society. It advances three policy areas for ensuring protection for all workers, including by extending protection to all workers regardless of their contractual status, reducing working time and ensuring that technology is put at the service of the world of work.

Keywords: technology, platform work, precariousness, unpaid work, labour protection

JEL Classification: J21, J42, J51, J58

Suggested Citation

Berg, Janine, Protecting Workers in the Digital Age: Technology, Outsourcing and the Growing Precariousness of Work (May 31, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3413740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3413740

Janine Berg (Contact Author)

International Labour Office ( email )

Route des Morillons 4
Geneva, 1211
Switzerland

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