Worker resistance strategies and union action in platform work: the case of Uber in Spain
Article publication date: 30 January 2023
The author analyses the strategies developed by workers and unions to obtain representation and the successes and limitations of the strategies, in a context of platform work such as Spanish dominated by labour relations of employee workers.
The empirical material is the result of a series of in-depth interviews conducted between August 2020 and September 2021 with 41 workers, 15 of them union delegates, in addition to 4 union members and a labour lawyer. From these interviews, the author obtains a detailed account of the working conditions and the different phases that unionism has gone through in its objective of obtaining representation in a completely new sector.
The author found that employment in the relationship does not solve all the problems of platform work, especially those related to algorithmic control, but employment in the relationship provides advantages such as the right to representation. Workers play an important role in union strategies.
This study is the first in Spain, where platform work in passenger transport includes the employment relationship as a legal contracting mechanism.
This research has been made possible thanks to the award of a pre-doctoral research contract by the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia. Thanks are also due to the workers who collaborated with the research, the coordinators of the special issue, Gomer Betancor Nuez and Francisco Fernández-Trujillo, and the reviewers who improved the text with their comments.
Riesgo Gómez, V. (2023), "Worker resistance strategies and union action in platform work: the case of Uber in Spain", Employee Relations, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-11-2021-0510
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