Gig worker

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Gig workers are online platform workers which tend to lack worker protections,[1][2] Gig workers enter into formal agreements with on-demand companies to provide services to the company's clients. Gig workers participate in what's called the gig economy.[3]


According to a 2021 report by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization the expansion of the gig economy can be seen as one significant factor for the increase in worker deaths for those who work over 55 hours a week (relative to those who work 35-40), rising from 600,000 deaths in 2000 to 750,000 in 2016.[4] The report found that in 2016, 9% of the world's population worked greater than 55 hours weekly, and this was more prevalent among men, as well as workers in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions. Work has also suggested poor mental health outcomes amongst gig workers.[5]

Labor movement

The gig economy makes it more difficult for workers to organize a union or demand higher pay or better conditions, due to the fact that there is no central location where labor must continually be performed by a set group of workers.

Despite this difficulty, there have been successes in organizing gig workers. Both founded in 2018, the Gig Economy Project in Europe and Gig Workers Rising in California have grown substantially in recent years.

In an effort to raise labor consciousness and expose the poor conditions of the gig economy, Canadian documentary filmmaker Shannon Walsh produced The Gig Is Up (2021)[3][6]

See also


  1. Steven Vallas & Juliet B. Schor (2020). What do platforms do? Understanding the gig economy. Annual Review of Sociology, 46(1). doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-121919-054857 [HUB]
  2. “Many of those new low and middle-income earners appear to be gig workers. Projections from the state Employment Development Department found that the fastest-growing occupations in San Francisco were taxi drivers, chauffeurs, couriers, messengers, and personal care aides. Exact numbers are hard to come by, because gig workers are often considered self-employed—and that very opacity plays into the hands of tech companies that aren’t particularly keen to shine a light on whether these new jobs meet fair labor practices.”

    Lia Russel (2019-01-16). "The Silicon Valley economy is here. And it's a nightmare."
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Real Cost Of The Gig Economy" (2022-04-13). Renegade Inc..
  4. “The population prevalence of exposure to long working hours increased substantially between 2010 and 2016. If this trend continues, it is likely that the population exposed to this occupational risk factor will expand further. Potential reasons for this include expansion of the gig economy, the uncertainty introduced, and new working-time arrangements (e.g., on-call work, telework, and the platform economy).”

    Frank Pega, Bálint Náfrádi, et al (2021). Global, regional, and national burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke attributable to exposure to long working hours for 194 countries, 2000–2016: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury. Environment International. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106595 [HUB]
  5. Sally-Anne Gross, George Musgrave & Laima Janciute (2018-08-08). Well-being and mental health in the gig economy. University of Westminster Press. ISBN 978-1-911534-91-4 doi: 10.16997/book32 [HUB]
  6. "The Gig Is Up". IMDB.