Lagos Business School (LBS) has joined the Fairwork network, the global foundation dedicated to promoting equity and fairness in the emerging platform economy, also known as the gig economy. Prof. Olayinka David-West, Kemi Ogunyemi and other members of the LBS community will implement the Fairwork project over the next two years.
The gig economy is having a significant impact on the way Nigerians live and work – ride-hailing and package delivery platforms have eased logistics both for people moving around and for transporting goods, food and other items to various locations. The delivery services include business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C). By reducing the number of vehicles on the road, ride-hailing is also helping to reduce the overall carbon footprint and thus enhance environmental sustainability.
According to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a person is deemed unemployed if they work less than 40 hours per week. With Q4 2020 unemployment rate of 33%, and 42% amongst young people of 15 – 34 years, the pace at which gig work opportunities are being adopted is not surprising. Freelancing was already gaining ground as a preferred way of working for many even before COVID-19. The pandemic heightened the adoption of this work mode, given that it transcended location-based “gig work”, and the delivery economy gained importance during the movement restrictions amid the “lockdown”. Yet, the Nigerian job market is still very much an employer’s market for gig workers, especially as they are not employees, but independent contractors, and therefore excluded from the protections of the country’s labour laws. The Fairwork approach will awaken gig economy employers to their responsibilities to treat all their workers with justice and fairness and ensure that they provide fair working conditions. The objectives of the project are to raise awareness of ethical concerns about gig workers’ situation, to engage stakeholders and foster dialogue among them, and to encourage gig employers to improve the treatment of their workers and consider taking the Fairwork pledge. We expect that, in the long run, the insights from the project report will contribute to support policy making regarding gig work and the extension of labour laws to cover gig workers in Nigeria.