Strikes by Uber drivers and Deliveroo workers in France drew attention in spring and summer 2019 to the particular status of those workers who are non-salaried but nevertheless highly dependent on digital platforms that pay them by the job. Their situation may not perhaps be representative of all who work through such platforms and the employment generated by these platforms doesn’t perhaps represent a substantial share of total employment — particularly in France. Nevertheless, the appearance of these new forms of work raises a host of questions and that is why we deem it useful to assess the situation and examine the perspectives opened up for employment in the context of the increasing number of digital platforms in very different sectors (transport, housing, catering, the retail trade, job-seeking etc.).
In this article, Louis-Charles Viossat looks at the main characteristics of these platforms and the many different types of work and employment involved in their operation. He also shows the rather limited share of these kinds of jobs in the economy, downplaying the threat that some commentators see them as representing for salaried employment. He does, however, stress the risks with regard to working conditions and job quality that are created by platform working — risks which call for regulatory measures and a legal framework, so that the current social contract can be adapted to current and future developments in this field.