The founders of two digital labour platforms in Ghana, Eziban and The BlackRide, recently participated in a Platform Managers Event to discuss how to improve working conditions in the African platform economy.
The event was organised by Fairwork and took place in Mauritius.
Eziban and The BlackRide have been recognised by Fairwork as digital labour platforms that are taking steps to improve the working conditions of platform workers in Ghana.
The founders of the platforms were invited to the event by Fairwork’s to further discuss improvements in their operations.
The organisation of the Platform Managers Event is demonstrative of Fairwork’s commitment to engaging with platforms to advance better platform work.
Fairwork’s five principles – covering pay, conditions, contracts, management, and representation – serve as a practical guide for platforms wanting to join the charge towards a truly transformative Ghanaian platform economy: one that provides not only jobs, but jobs that are characterised by fairness for those that perform them.
The event brought together platform founders and managers that have engaged with Fairwork to implement pro-worker changes in the African Platform economy.
It created a space for networking and peer learning. In doing so, it facilitated productive dialogue between like-minded platforms that are seeking to take pro-active steps to improve working conditions for platform workers in Africa. As a result of their participation, many of the platforms made direct commitments to further exploring ways of integrating the Fairwork principles into their work processes and structures.
The event was sponsored by Invest for Jobs – an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
It addressed the issue of creating jobs in Africa, whilst providing decent working conditions for workers.
The Ghanaian platform economy has grown rapidly in recent years, providing much-needed employment opportunities across the country. However, the quality of the working conditions provided by many of the major digital platforms is poor.
This was highlighted by Fairwork Ghana in their evaluation of digital labour platforms during 2021 and 2022.
Fairwork Ghana is an action-research project that is coordinated by the University of Oxford in partnership with the University of Ghana Business School.
A total of 12 platforms operating primarily in the ride-hailing and food delivery sectors (The BlackRide, Bolt, Bolt Food, Feenix, InDriver, JumiaFood, Swift-Wheels, Uber, Yango, Glovo, iFerch and Eziban) were evaluated in relation to their ability provide work that is characterised by the 5 principles of Fairwork: fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation.
The 2022 Fairwork Ghana report demonstrated that significant improvements were needed across the Ghanaian platform economy for workers to be able to access fair working conditions.
In addition to emphasising the need for improvements, the 2022 report highlighted that platforms have the power to choose to provide fair working conditions to workers; bringing to light exemplary practices and policies introduced by certain platforms, which has helped to improve the lives of platform workers in Ghana.
From the 2022 report, The Black Ride, a ride-hailing platform, emerged as an example of a local digital platform that has taken proactive steps to advance fairer working conditions through its engagement with Fairwork. Particularly notable are the actions it has taken to fulfil the principle of fair representation. In 2021, the platform publicly recognised worker groups such as the Ghana Online Drivers Union (GODU), and in 2022, it formally signed an MOU with four collective worker groups.
Eziban is another positive example that is highlighted by Fairwork Ghana. Eziban was not scored in 2022 due to briefly pausing operations. However, as noted in the 2021 research, the platform has made positive changes to management and representation practices. These include committing to engaging in collective bargaining and taking meaningful steps to compensate workers due to their inability to work.
Eziban has now partially re-launched, primarily in Takoradi and Kumasi, and has demonstrated a willingness to continue improving working conditions for delivery riders in Ghana.
Fairwork is a global project based at the Oxford Internet Institute and the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre. Through a global network of researchers, Fairwork evaluates working conditions on digital platforms and ranks them based on five principles of fair work.
Globally, Fairwork collaborates closely with workers, platforms, advocates, and policymakers to envision and build a fairer future for work.