Malta must adopt a proactive approach in creating a way of providing platform workers with basic protection. It must also safeguard their human dignity, says eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina.
COVID 19 has exposed the ugly side of gig work. This has left vulnerable workers exposed to the brutality of operating in an unregulated market.
As the pandemic tore through economies highly dependent on tourism and travel, ride-hailing drivers witnessed their incomes dwindle. This consequently forced them to work long inhumane hours in deteriorating conditions. It also provided opportunities, and accelerated the rise of delivery, creating industries requiring new skill sets and adjustments to pay expectations.
On the demand side, customers also crave the convenience of meals delivered to their homes and offices and taxi rides that are just a tap away. On the supply side, workers grasp the opportunity to work in a flexible manner.
The gig economy is here to stay. In the spirit of fairness and sustainability, Malta must adopt a proactive approach in creating a ‘third way’ of regulating platform/gig economy work, and provide platform workers basic protection from unforeseen economic cycles, seasonal shocks in demand, and on-the-job injuries.
A thriving business should never come at the cost of human dignity. Let’s not wake up when it’s too late.
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