The present and future of precarious work for app-based workers

Nara Letícia Pedroso Ramos Rodrigues Amanda Sorce Moreira Sergio Roberto de Lucca About the authors


In the struggle for survival, millions of people submit to deregulated and informal work. Taking advantage of this, app-based companies have attracted growing numbers of workers under the fallacy of entrepreneurship. The current study aimed to describe the biosocial profile of these workers, the work process, and forms of company control, besides analyzing the principal and emerging aspects in the respective participants. This is a scoping study in which data collection was oriented by the question, “What has been produced in the scientific literature on the profile and risks of app-based work?” from 2014 to 2020. Content analysis revealed thematic dimensions: the growth of apps in Brazil and worker relations; the profile of app-based workers; and their work exposure and demands for working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The professional dynamic of app-based workers is marked by subordination, domination, and exhaustion. The fact that their employment relationship is not acknowledged does not deprive them of rights, dignity, and quality of life in the workplace. Spontaneous organization without trade union intermediation in this category of workers, backing a common agenda of demands to be discussed with other representatives of society, denotes the high degree of exploitation and precariousness and could suggest the path for app companies to adopt the principles of dignified, decent work.

Information Technology; Informal Sector; Pandemics; Occupational Health; Precarious Employment

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