#20 Migrant Labour and Organizing in the Platform Economy (two-part episode)

With Gabriella (Gorillas Workers’ Collective) and sociologist Moritz Altenried (Humboldt University Berlin).

In part one of this two-part episode we discuss how the platform economy and migrant labour are related. What role does migrant labour play in urban logistical infrastructures? How are migration regimes and the business model of gig-work plattforms related? And what are the concrete experiences of gig-workers at Gorillas and elsewhere?

In part two of this two-part episode we address the challenges and chances of organizing migrant workers in the platform economy. What are hurdles for migrant worker organizing especially in the gig-economy? What different models of union memberships or institution could be a better fit to sustainably organize workers? What are concrete experiences in the case of the Gorillas Workers‘ struggle?

More information

You can find Moritz‘ article on the relationship between migration and the gig economy here (open access). In his recently published book “The Digital Factory: The Human Labor of Automation” Moritz reveals the hidden human labor behind today’s digital tools, plattforms and services.

Discussing the societal relevance of the services that delivery platform workers provide, Gabriella referred to an opinion piece by Emma Brockes published in the Guardian (August 11 2022).

In an interview with the German newspaper TAZ sociologist Nicole Mayer-Ahuja takes a look at the relation between a general intensification of work and a growing demand for instant delivery services to keep up with unpaid reproductive labour.

While the organizing at Gorillas Berlin started with hazardous working conditions in winter, heat waves in Europe pose their own risks, as this article on Sifted illustrates.

Rest of World is an interesting platform giving a global perspective on the developments in Tech and its impact on societies and the environment. They have published a great article about gig-worker organizing across the globe: “We’re all fighting the giant”: Gig workers around the world are finally organizing.

Gorillas Workers’ Collective is active on Twitter: @GorillasWorkers

Our guests

Gabriella has been active with the Gorillas Workers Collective since 2021. She is a rider for the groceries delivery platform. Together with her colleagues she successfully fought for forming a works council.

Moritz Altenried is a post-doctoral researcher at the Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research (BIM) and the Institute for European Ethnology at the Humboldt-University Berlin. One of the research projects he is involved with, is „Platform Mobilities“ which studies the reorganisation of labour through digital platforms and migration. Moritz studies platform labor, gig economy and migration with a focus on urban contexts.

Fotocredits: FAU Berlin / wikimedia.org.