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Prison and liberator: The paradox of Uber

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On 24 November, after a nervous wait, Uber will learn whether its licence to operate in London is to be renewed. reports citing foreign media.

The impending decision has revived debate over whether the data-driven basis for its business model and the "gig economy" jobs it creates are fair.

A wave of platforms has followed, offering new ways to buy and sell, to rent from and temporarily hire others.

Rather than salaried employees, independent contractors are paid by consumers for a specific job - a "gig".

The platforms in the middle argue they do not employ staff but simply connect customers with people seeking to make money.

Research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) estimates that one in 10 workers in the UK now regularly does "platform work".

No company is more symbolic of this shift than Uber itself.

As a consequence, it has become a lightning rod for arguments about what gig work really represents.

Does it usher in new, flexible, liberating ways to work, or is it the means for a kind of arms-length control that undermines basic rights?

2019.11.17 / 20:34
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