Cooperative movement present during ILO meeting of experts on decent work in the platform economy

18 Oct 2022

The ILO organised a tripartite meeting of experts on decent work in the platform economy to explore the opportunities and challenges generated by the platform economy in respect of decent work. 

Held in Geneva from 10  to 14 October, the meeting discussed the working conditions and social protections of platform workers. The general statement made by the ICA in the opening plenary proposed the cooperative model as a viable option in the platform economy, as an alternative to provide better working conditions to the persons performing platform work, and put technology at the service of the community.

The meeting featured a range of experts from governments, workers, and employers. As a UN observer, the ICA was also represented by ICA Director of Research Hyungsik Eum and Diana Dovgan, the General Secretary of the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA).

Addressing the meeting, Mr Eum described the cooperative model as “solidly based on people and democratic principles can provide pragmatic solutions to promote and implement decent work in the context of platform economy”. 

He also pointed out that cooperatives “have always been structured as horizontal platforms, so their adapting to the platform economy is natural,” and said an increasing number of cooperatively owned platforms, called platform cooperatives, have been emerging in recent years.

The meeting also highlighted the issues the ILO should focus on to help make decent work a reality in the platform economy.

Mr Eum called on the ILO, governments and social partners to “find the most appropriate frameworks to improve work conditions of platform workers” by, for example, “fighting bogus self-employment, one of the major issues related to platform work, and to guarantee level playing field for platforms committed to provide higher work standards, such as cooperative platforms.”

He also argued that cooperatives would benefit from a level-playing field and conductive ecosystems for cooperative-based platforms.

“It is certain that cooperatives cannot be a solution alone. With governments, trade unions and employers’ organisations, we are ready to work together to strengthen the decent work in keeping the entrepreneurial and innovative potential of the platform economy,” he said.

CICOPA said it welcomed the ILO’s initiative to host a tripartite discussion on this matter. “Decent work is at the core of the concern for platform cooperatives,” it said in a statement.