Pakistan's 2 Pc Labor Force Engaged In Gig Economy: Report

Pakistan's 2 pc labor force engaged in gig economy: Report

Pakistan has nearly 2 percent of its labour force engaged in the gig economy through online and location-based services

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th Aug, 2022 ) :Pakistan has nearly 2 percent of its labour force engaged in the gig economy through online and location-based services.

According to a study conducted here recently, an estimated half a million workers in the country work in the location-based platform economy, but it has been encouraging a race to the bottom regarding working conditions.

The new report "Pakistan Ratings 2022: Labour Standards in the Platform Economy" has been conducted by Fairwork Foundation, Oxford University UK and Centre for Labour Research, Pakistan which reveals best and worst practices in gig economy.

As per the study details, seven of the most popular gig economy platforms in Pakistan have been rated according to how fairly they treat workers. Only three companies were able to earn a score, obtaining one out of 10 each.

The study found that most of the companies, failed to ensure minimum standards of fair work - such as ensuring all workers earn above the national minimum wage.

This is the first study of its kind in Pakistan, scoring companies on labour standards such as pay, employment conditions, contracts, management and representation.

Dr. Aliya Hashmi Khan, a Labour Economist, Mutaher Khan a Columnist at Dawn news, Yaseen Aslam President ADCU, Zahoor Awan, Member of ILO governing Body, Syed Muhammad Ali, a Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, Raja Faiz ul Hassan Faiz, Former Central Labour Law Advisor and Azhar Malik, Deputy Secretary HRD, Ministry of OP and HRD were the panelists at the launch event of the Fairwork Report.

Iftikhar Ahmad, Founder CLR and Principal Investigator of the Fairwork Pakistan said: "For the first time we have looked at companies offering ride hailing services, food delivery and courier and domestic services to rate them on how they treat their workers".

The report, ranks platforms against five principles of Fairwork, giving each company a score out of ten. The report finds that the majority of the seven platforms are failing to meet the basic standards of fairness when benchmarked against the Fairwork principles.

Publishing this study, researchers from Centre for Labour Research, are calling for stronger protections and more robust labour standards in the Pakistan platform economy.

Dr. AliyaKhan elaborated the issue of gender disparity, the gig-economy work and important issues like the glaring disparity in the employment of women and men in South Asia. Mutaher Khan highlighted the possible reasons behind negative income and how it can be catered through social security. Yaseen Aslam talked about landmark ruling against a private company in the UK and its positive impact on the gig workers.

Zahoor Awan, Member ILO Governing Body, discussed provision of workers' rights through trade unions. Syed Muhammad Ali shared his views about casualization of labour over decades. Azhar Malik ensured government's support for the draft legislation on digital platform workers. Raja Faizul Hassan praised the draft legislation for platform workers and gave recommendations. All of them praised the collaboration between the Centre for Labour Research and Fairwork and their efforts in this regard and declared it a big step in the right direction.

As a way forward, the Centre for Labour Research has proposed a draft legislation in collaboration with Wage Indicator Foundation and the Fairwork. The draft legislation covers all Fairwork principles and gives platform workers all workplace rights including right to minimum wage, health and safety protection, data portability and data protection, accessibility to comprehensible employment contract, social proPESSIs and EOBI including old-age pensions, grievance redressal mechanisms, protection from discrimination and harassment, and protection of right to unionise and bargain collectively.

Professor Mark Graham, Professor of internet Geography at Oxford Internet Institute and Director of Fairwork, said, "The low scores of many popular platforms in the Fairwork Pakistan league table clearly demonstrates the need for regulatory intervention to ensure gig workers are no longer falling through the cracks, further exacerbated through the pandemic. We urge private organizations and investors to sign up to our pledge today and help our vision of fair work become a reality for all platform workers."