What is life like for workers in the gig economy? Is it a paradise of flexibility and individual freedom? Or is it a world of exploitation and conflict? Callum Cant took a job with one of the most prominent platforms, Deliveroo, to find out.
His vivid account of the reality is grim. Workers are being tyrannised by algorithms and exploited for the profit of the few – but they are not taking it lying down. Cant reveals a transnational network of encrypted chats and informal groups which have given birth to a wave of strikes and protests. Far from being atomised individuals helpless in the face of massive tech companies, workers are tearing up the rulebook and taking back control. New developments in the workplace are combining to produce an explosive subterranean class struggle – where the stakes are high, and the risks are higher.
Riding for Deliveroo is the first portrait of a new generation of working class militants. Its mixture of compelling first-hand testimony and engaging analysis is essential for anyone wishing to understand class struggle in platform capitalism.
Join the author Callum Cant in conversation with IWGB for a discussion of his research and the politics of resistance in the gig economy