Emerging Forms of Collectivity Among App-Based Transport Workers in Indonesia

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Michele FORD, The University of Sydney, Australia
Vivian HONAN, The University of Sydney, Australia
In advanced economies, the emergence of Uber and other digital transport platforms has been criticised for undermining more traditional and secure forms of employment. Less-developed contexts—where informal work and non-standard employer/employee relationships are ubiquitous—present a more complex picture of the relationship between the gig economy, employment standards and labour activism. In Indonesia, many app-based transport workers have at least as favourable income and working conditions as their counterparts in the conventional taxi sector. A less obvious (and unintended) effect of the rapid growth of app-based transport companies has been the emergence of greater opportunities for collective action. While the companies that connect app-based transport workers with customers refer to them as ‘partners’ rather than ‘employees’, they nevertheless provide a focal point for those workers when seeking to act collectively to demand better working conditions. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, this paper explores the impact of online transport on employment relations, with a particular focus on emerging forms of worker collectivity among app-based transport workers in Indonesia.