Beyond an obvious erosion of labour rights under these platforms there is the unsavoury misclassification of workers as being ‘self-employed’ in almost all forms of commercial digital work. Workers are fragmented as individual partners, and the platforms leave them to their own ‘devices’ whilst retaining very tight control of their daily work. The platforms retain close proprietary control of the technology involved and the data being used in providing services such as food delivery.
How does one then begin chipping away at such a digital edifice? CoopCycle and similar alternatives like them step in. They provide the critical functions which form the backbone of a gig-economy business. The main moving parts of the platform cooperative would include software, smartphone applications, mapping, insurances and building alliances with potential vendors. The technology that enables all these functions from CoopCycle is free and open for all cooperatives to use. This is essential, as the technology is at the core in bringing together cooperative groups such as La Pájara or the York Collective and even isolated workers – to connect them with customers and food vendors.