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Tuesday October 04, 2022

‘Most online services failing to meet basic standards of fairness’

By Our Correspondent
August 26, 2022

Pakistan has nearly 2 per cent of its labour force engaged in the gig economy through online and location-based services. 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, says a report launched by Fairwork Pakistan.

Seven of the most popular gig economy platforms in Pakistan have been rated according to how fairly they treat workers. Only three online services 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.

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. An unexpected phenomena of negative income hovers over the platform workers when their monthly costs exceed their incomes. He explained the problem of misclassification of workers and lack of legislation on the subject.

The report, ‘Pakistan Ratings 2022: Labour Standards in the Platform Economy’ ranks platforms against five principles of fair work, 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.

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