Indonesia, Singapore warm up to gig worker rights amid growing unrest
15 May 2022
In an interview with DealStreetAsia, Spire Research & Consulting Chairman Leon Perera shares his insights on gig worker rights and the gig economy.
The introduction and popularity of ride-hailing platforms such as Gojek, Uber and Grab led to a rise in gig work, which provided flexibility and attractive incentives with low barriers to entry. Although gig work is ideally transitionary or supplemental, many use it as their main source of income. As more joined the platforms, the competition prompted the ride-hailing companies to double their transaction fee. This reduced gig workers’ earnings, leading to dissatisfaction.
Spire Chairman, Leon Perera, noted that part of the discontent also stems from individuals realizing the potential dangers of gig work, especially with long hours spent driving. He expressed concern about the mobility of workers who are rendered obsolete by technological developments.
There are calls for better labour rights, putting pressure on the platforms. Leon posits that unionization should be up to the workers, but legal protection, such as a minimum wage, CPF contributions, and paid leave, would be more impactful. Additionally, there is also a need to ease workers’ transition out of the gig economy. As a result of this pressure, some platforms have started to take steps towards improving worker rights, such as granting some workers company shares and opening channels for feedback.
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