Gendered labour’s positions of vulnerabilities in digital labour platforms and strategies of resistance: a case study of women workers’ struggle in Urban Company, New Delhi
The expansion of digital labour platforms (DLPs) in South Asia has incorporated the pre-existing intersectional social inequalities, initiating new sites of exploitation and collective resistance which disrupt and negotiate the gendered labour's positions of vulnerabilities. This paper explores the case of a courageous strike by women workers of Urban Company (online beauty and home services platform) in New Delhi to hike their commission percentage amid the pandemic. We identify that the gendered labour's positions of vulnerabilities in DLPs are informed by the false promise of flexibility, algorithmic insecurity, lack of safety and security, and high dependence of workers on the platform. Against this backdrop, the women's resistance via informal unionism employed the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and informal kin networks to co-ordinate and develop solidarities and launch protest actions, with the support of the traditional trade union. Their limited success is evidence of the associational power of informal unionism, along with the visibility of women harnessing public attention as ‘sufferers of injustice’.
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