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      Flexibility and freedom for whom? Precarity, freedom and flexibility in on-demand food delivery



            On-demand delivery platforms appropriate ‘freedom’ and ‘flexibility’ discourses with claims such as ‘be your own boss’ and ‘work as much as you want to’. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Deliveroo updated its courier platform application with a ‘free login system’ in Barcelona whereby platform couriers could connect to the platform whenever, wherever, and as often as they wanted to. In this paper, we ask why the introduction of a ‘free login’ system generated even more precarious forms of work, by comparing workforce management systems both before and during the COVID-19 period. We argue that the reason it becomes problematic is rooted in Deliveroo's business model, which is characterised by hiring on-demand, using a piece-rate payment and exercising hard workforce control through algorithmic management.


            Author and article information

            Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation
            Pluto Journals
            1 January 2021
            : 15
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.13169/workorgalaboglob.15.issue-1 )
            : 46-68
            © Melissa Renau Cano, Ricard Espelt and Mayo Fuster Morell, 2021

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Custom metadata

            Sociology,Labor law,Political science,Labor & Demographic economics,Political economics
            gig economy,labour process control,platform work,flexibility,Deliveroo,freedom


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