Call for Papers : Mobilization and unionization dynamics of platfom workers
- Fabien Brugière, Maître de conférences, Université de Strasbourg, laboratoire SAGE
- Donna Kesselman, Professor, Université Paris-Est Créteil, laboratoire IMAGER
- Jean Vandewattyne, Professor, Université de Mons, Service de Psychologie du travail
Over the past decade, a new type of economic player has not only emerged, but has sparked major transformations across various service sectors. This new figure is defined by an extensive use of digital technologies and so-called disruptive strategies that seek an ever-greater share of the market. The global expansion of these "lean platforms" is rooted in an economic model characterized by the “hyper-externalization” (Srnicek, 2016) of physical capital and labor, and its ability to bypass work and employment regulations that have traditionally been based on the triple unity of place, time and collective organization (Degryse, 2020).
This special issue will be structured around 4 thematic axes:
- Analysis of the changing field of platform workers’ collective representation: to give an account of the evolving forms of the organizations (collectives and trade unions) involved and of the relations maintained between them, as well as to analyze these industrial relations dynamics within the perspective of the national context(s) studied and the impact of the economic and health crises on the field.
- Analysis of the collective action of platform workers' mobilizations: to describe the various modes of action, whether “classic” (e.g. demonstration, strike, rally, or a blockade of an administrative office) or new and sector-specific (e.g. temporary collective disconnections from the apps, traffic slow-down, lawsuits for salary reclassification, alternative forms of organization). Here, we show particular interest toward the types of actors involved and the forms of cooperation that emerge in this context.
- Analysis of the demands and strategies put forward by the various union figures: to highlight any agreements and disagreements concerning the major issues concerning platform work (e.g. employment status, income, working conditions, social protection, social dialogue), linking them in particular to the regulatory framework, the social composition, and the identities of the relevant professional groups.
- Analysis of the “disruption” generated by platformization. What are the consequences of the emergence of these activities on trade unionism and industrial relations in each country, and in a comparative perspective, on the relations that institutionalized trade unions have with policy-makers and companies, who have themselves become major players involved in the process of changing and reconfiguration of norms? By tracing the power relationships within which actors are engaged, we can better study the full range of actions taken by new stakeholders in the “public sphere” (e.g. platforms, traditional competitors, public authorities at various echelons, consumer associations, experts, etc.) (Azaïs et al., 2017) and thus make larger arguments about changes in the economic structures and regulations of the mobility sector.