Algos Replacing Humans Fuels ILO Call for Gig Economy Regulation

The International Labor Organization urged better regulatory cooperation among countries to protect workers in the digital economy, saying the distinction between employees and the self-employed is increasingly becoming blurred.

“Working conditions are largely regulated by the platforms’ terms of service agreements, which are often unilaterally determined,” the ILO said. “Algorithms are increasingly replacing humans in allocating and evaluating work, and administering and monitoring workers.”

The Geneva-based body’s call comes just days after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that Uber Technologies Inc. must treat its drivers as “workers,” giving them access to vacation pay, rest breaks and minimum wage.

The decision opens the way for additional claims from people providing their services to other platforms, and European officials are poised to modify the rules.

In Spain, the government is already preparing strict labor law changes that could mean food-delivery platforms have to formally employ the couriers they rely on.

“The challenges for platform workers relate to the regularity of work and income, the lack of access to social protection, freedom of association and collective bargaining rights,” the ILO said. “Working hours can often be long and unpredictable.”

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