18 January 2021 - Written by Emma Pascoe
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Melbourne Lockdown , June 2020
In June 2020, amidst lockdowns in Melbourne, was the perfect time for Loconomics to gain insight into what gig workers in Melbourne need from their online platforms that provide the bread and butter for their businesses. The feedback received overwhelmingly supports Loconomics mission to build an alternative platform that benefits gig workers who provide essential services to their local community.
Gig workers highlighted that having access to online platforms gave them the ability to find work and be found by customers. Gig work gives them the flexibility to work for themselves, choose their jobs and their hours.
There appear to be three main areas that platforms fall short on. Loconomics to the rescue!!
Commission - The feedback revealed that gig workers want to receive better rates of pay for their work, where they don’t lose chunks of their income paying commision to the platform. Some platforms charge up to 30% commission on jobs, leaving gig workers with a small take home pay for their skilled labour and hard work. Loconomics will provide a platform where commissions don’t take from the hard work of the actual workers and keeps the value in the community.
Race to the bottom - Another feature of the current online platforms is the competition between workers. The platform is set up to benefit service users, e.g. someone wanting a tree cut down, their house cleaned; the benefit to them is to find workers who will do the best job for the cheapest price. Some workers reported that they were undercut by another worker who offered to do the job for $1 cheaper. The current platforms enable this, putting workers in competition with each other to quote the cheapest price for the job, having to race to the bottom with their rates, losing out to workers who are willing to be paid less. Loconomics shared ownership model will prevent workers from bidding on jobs.
Rating systems - The rating systems are owned and controlled by the platform and encourage lower wages
Providers with no ratings have to bid very low to win work, then their ratings go up. This suits the interest of the platform, not the service providers, controlling the income of the company.
Overall, the rules and conditions of the current platforms makes it impossible for workers to maintain integrity, quality and work ethics.
Current online platforms for gig workers are unsustainable for healthy, vibrant communities. It promotes competition between workers, lower rates of pay, shortcuts in quality, and erodes trust in the community. It leads to the question ‘how do these platforms lead to stronger, healthier communities?” Loconomics enables gig economy workers to connect to their communities, make decisions together and build a thriving community. The perfect antidote to the old spaghetti Western!