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Gig workers, platforms and government during Covid-19 in South Africa

By Fairwork

Fairwork’s latest analysis of the COVID-19 responses by the government and platforms in South Africa finds that neither has taken the responsibility to compensate workers for the loss of earnings during the pandemic.

Gig workers told Fairwork that they have, on average, lost four-fifths of their income because of COVID-19.

Of the 13 platforms reviewed, only SweepSouth and M4Jam were found to have taken direct initiatives to address the loss of income.

The gig workers are also unable to access government funds since they are neither formal employees or registered small businesses, both of which are entitled to the new stimulus package announced recently by the state.

The platforms reviewed include Uber, Bolt, Uber Eats, OrderIn, Picup, Droppa, Mr D, SweepSouth, Domestly, M4Jam, Secret Agent, NoSweat and getTOD.

"Taking account of household size, gig work in South Africa may therefore directly touch the lives of up to half a million people; making it an important economic and social issue for the country. Yet, to date, there has been little evidence in the public domain about the response of platforms and of government to the particular needs of gig workers arising from the Covid19 pandemic"

This table shows responses by platforms

Fairwork proposes a wide range of measures that platforms and government can undertake including but not limited to: Extension of tax return and tax payment deadlines, loan deferrals, physical protection, healthcare assistance, sick pay, improved communication, and engagement with workers and their representatives.

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