The expression “digital work” is commonly understood as a situation in which a person is engaged in performing one or more tasks using digital devices, irrespective of the physical, temporal, or organizational context of such work performance. Over the last decade, a particular form of digital work has been on the rise, in correlation to the widespread and ever-expanding use of the Internet around the world as well as the vertical development of new technology companies. The most known example of such companies is perhaps Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Given their organizational features, this type of online platform must be distinguished from other important phenomena in the so-called gig-economy, especially from the “work–on-demand-via–apps” phenomenon, whose prototype is rather to be found in the Uber system.

Researchers at the University of Luxembourg are currently investigating the legal implications of rising out of the spread of such online platforms, which have been almost neglected to date, while focusing in particular on the role of EU Directive 2008/104 on agency work in addressing some crucial issues such as minimum wages, equality at work, etc.

Recent policies embodied in the European Commission’s European Digital Agenda do not seem to address the issue of Crowdworking and/or work–on-demand-via–apps, which could well explain why, at the European level, trade unions responded to it negatively.

Main contributor(s): Luca Ratti