5 key aspects towards an International Convention on Digital platforms with a gender focus

The world of work in the digital era has changed, and the restructuring of labor markets due to the growth of the platform economy presents challenges that must be understood in a gendered way. The automation of processes and opacity of algorithms and in terms of the organization of work, has a cost that particularly affects women, migrants, young people and dissidents. In this sense, there is a risk of infringement of people’s fundamental rights in terms of privacy, personal data protection, equality and non-discrimination, and occupational health and safety.
We are women workers and our main demand is linked to the recognition of the labor relationship between companies and us: the platforms where we work are characterized by imposing their rules and their operation regardless of the regulation of each country. Given this scenario, women workers in delivery and driving platforms
from 7 countries and 8 unions gathered in Mexico City from October 21 to 24, 2023, we talked about the problems we experience in the performance of our work and we have recovered a series of demands for urgent attention by the member states of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The digital platform work model does not comply with the standards of decent work, nor does it adhere to the fundamental conventions of the ILO, especially those relating to freedom of association and collective bargaining, as well as those relating to discrimination in employment and occupation. The non-recognition of the employment relationship has a much more negative effect on women and dissidents, which is why a gender perspective is necessary. There are sufficient elements to generate an International Labor Organization (ILO) convention on digital platform labor.
We, the female digital workers of the Latin American and Caribbean region, participants and spokespersons of this meeting, raise our voices and propose three areas of action from a gender perspective, for the development of this agreement. These areas of action are: Discrimination, Violence and Social Security, Health and Safety at Work. In addition, we present four specific requests addressed to the ILO.

Towards an Agreement on digital platforms

a. Discrimination:
1. Compliance with International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions 100 and 111 on discrimination in respect of occupation and employment; Convention 97 and 143 on migrant workers; and Convention 183 on maternity protection.

2. A specific regulation that guarantees algorithmic transparency, as well as human supervision in the use of algorithms that prohibits the use of personal data (for example, sex and nationality) that could lead to discrimination. That specific functionalities are included to avoid discrimination based on gender.

b. Violence:
3. Regulations imposing obligations on companies o establish anti-harassment protocols and to conduct gender violence awareness programs.
4. Regulations mandating companies to provide suitable facilities for the well being and safety of digital platform workers.

c. Social security, safety and health at work:
5. Compliance with Conventions 17 on compensation for work related accidents, Convention 18 on occupational diseases and Convention 155 on the safety and health of workers, with a gender focus, in the digital platform sector.

Regarding our specific requests to the ILO:

a. Technical cooperation to support the design of programs and projects for trade unions of digital platforms with a gender approach, aimed at training and support for the strengthening of trade union organizations in the sector. These may be implemented through co-implementation between the ILO and national and international NGOs proposed by trade union organizations.

b. Support for the mobilization of resources to facilitate the implementation of projects that promote decent work, around shared knowledge, regulatory gaps, opportunities for improvement in the digital platform sector with a gender focus, as well as campaigns against gender-based violence in apps.

c. Conduct a regional study on working conditions in digital platforms with a gender perspective, which will serve to
determine a common ground on the problems experienced by women in Latin American and Caribbean countries. This includes a chapter on closing the gaps between Convention 190 and the legislation of the countries with an emphasis on digital platforms. This is a public study that guides the new Convention on digital platforms, the laws of the countries and public policies with a gender perspective.

d. Technical assistance for the development of national legislation on digital platforms with a gender approach.