Since 2016, mobilizations of gig workers across European countries have become increasingly common within location-based services, such as food delivery. Despite remarkable similarities in workers’ mobilization dynamics, their organizational forms have varied considerably, ranging from self-organization, to work councils, to unionization through rank-and-file or longstanding unions. To start making sense of this diversity in organizing practices, we compare two cases of mobilization in the food delivery sector: in Italy, where workers have initially opted for self-organization, and in the UK, where they have organized through rank-and-file unions. Drawing on interview and observational data gathered between 2016 and 2018, we find that the diversity of organizational forms across the two cases derives from the interaction between agential and contextual factors, namely: the capabilities of rank-and-file unions and the political tradition of militant organizing of the environment within which gig workers are embedded. These findings contribute to the emerging debate on labour relations in the gig economy by showing the central role that factors external to the labour process and to the institutional context play in shaping the structuring of labour antagonism in a still lowly institutionalized sector characterized by transnationally homogenous challenges.

With or without U(nions)? Understanding the diversity of gig workers’ organizing practices in Italy and the UK

Cini, Lorenzo;Maccarrone, Vincenzo;Tassinari, Arianna
2022

Abstract

Since 2016, mobilizations of gig workers across European countries have become increasingly common within location-based services, such as food delivery. Despite remarkable similarities in workers’ mobilization dynamics, their organizational forms have varied considerably, ranging from self-organization, to work councils, to unionization through rank-and-file or longstanding unions. To start making sense of this diversity in organizing practices, we compare two cases of mobilization in the food delivery sector: in Italy, where workers have initially opted for self-organization, and in the UK, where they have organized through rank-and-file unions. Drawing on interview and observational data gathered between 2016 and 2018, we find that the diversity of organizational forms across the two cases derives from the interaction between agential and contextual factors, namely: the capabilities of rank-and-file unions and the political tradition of militant organizing of the environment within which gig workers are embedded. These findings contribute to the emerging debate on labour relations in the gig economy by showing the central role that factors external to the labour process and to the institutional context play in shaping the structuring of labour antagonism in a still lowly institutionalized sector characterized by transnationally homogenous challenges.
2022
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
Gig economy; gig workers; mobilization; rank-and-file unions; self-organization; tradition of political organizing
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/131543
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