Gig economy and its Implications for Social Dialogue and Workers’ Protection

What are the challenges of the gig economy in terms of social dialogue and workers’ protection?


New work concepts resulting from the digital transformation are revolutionising the world of work. The ‘gig economy’ or ‘sharing economy’ has profound implications for social dialogue and workers’ protection. While some see gigging as a way into the workforce for the hard-to-employ, others portend a pessimistic future of workers with little or no income-security protections. The projects seeks to generate a better understanding of how the gig economy is transforming the social dialogue and workers’ protection and to provide an integrated picture of its implications for the role of employers, workers, government and society at large. The research will identify concrete policy options for public policy and social dialogue actors to meet the challenges of the gig economy. Thus, it will contribute to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognises the pivotal role of decent work in realising the 17 Social Development Goals. The three main questions guiding the research are:

What are the implications of the gig economy for employment arrangements, social protection, and for social dialogue and labour relations in different sectors and countries?

How can the technological and business-model innovation of the gig economy be managed and enhanced to ensure it delivers a measure of security and social protection to the millions of workers who are beginning to depend on it for their livelihoods?

What should be the role of social dialogue and the social partners in shaping developments in the gig economy and ensuring decent work for ‘crowd workers’?

The core of the research will comprise a thorough examination of case studies of ‘crowdwork’ and ‘work-on-demand via app’ in the sectors of transport, hospitality and banking. The research will follow a cross-national comparative design studying Switzerland, Germany, Greece and UK.


  • Gig economy
  • Social Dialogue
  • Workers’ rights
  • Social protection systems
  • Workplace transformations
  • Social partnersFuture of work


  • Economics
  • Law
  • Political Science
  • Sociology


International Organizations

  • International Labour Organization

Relevant Countries

  • Developed countries
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


This is an ongoing project, which started in autumn 2017. The information here is updated regularly. If you have any inquiries please don’t hesitate to contact the project team via the form below.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Jean-Michel Bonvin
University of Geneva

Luca Perrig
Principal Member
University of Geneva

Marco Giugni
Associated Member
University of Geneva

Nicola Cianferoni
Principa Member
University of Geneva

Simone Baglioni
Associated Member
Glasgow Caledonian University

Konstantinos (Kostas) Papadakis
Associated Member
ILO International Labour Organisation

Maria Mexi
University of Geneva

Lucio Baccaro
Associated Member
University of Geneva

Christian Lahusen
Associated Member
University of Siegen

Johannes Kiess
Principal Member
University of Siegen

Youcef Ghellab
Associated Member
ILO International Labour Organisation

Yannis Mastrogeorgiou
Associated Member
DIKTIO – Network for Reform in Greece and Europe