Spain: More than 1 million Catalans benefit from the platform economy

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This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

In the last year, more than 1.1 million Catalans (19% of the active population) have obtained income through the platform economy, and of these, some 282,000 work regularly in it, according to a study by CCOO Catalonia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

CCOO and the Institute of Labor Studies of the UAB have developed the first survey, consisting of 1,600 people of a minimum of 16 years of age, that seeks to measure the dimension of the platform economy, based on the use of technologies and space in the one operated by companies such as Uber, Cabify, or Deliveroo.

The Coordinator of the Field of Studies and Culture, Joan Herrera, explained at a press conference that doing a specific operation through one of these platforms, such as the sale of a piece of furniture or other goods, is different from being considered a worker in this variant of the digital economy.

Herrera added that this type of worker works in a “deregulated and vulnerable” environment that affects the organizational capacity of workers.

“It is a problem for the Government, for the country and for the union, it impregnates society as a whole, it is necessary to focus on this existing reality in Catalonia,” he added.

According to the data of the survey, 4.64% of the respondents, some 282,000 people if they are transferred to the Catalan working population as a whole, are considered platform workers, and 31.5% affirm that more than 50% of their total income comes from this type of activity.

The European average of workers on platforms whose activity in the sector represents more than 50% of their total income is 27%, and the percentage in Catalonia only is located behind Sweden and the United Kingdom.

A member of the center of studies and trade union research of CCOO Catalonia, Dani Garrell, explained that the percentage of platform workers “is lower than in studies that have been done on the subject, but survey workers show greater dependence on the income and more labor vulnerability.”

For his part, Professor of Sociology of Labor of the UAB Antonio Martin has ensured that this high dependence on the source of income “is explained by the precariousness generated by the long (economic) crisis traversed since 2007 in the labor market.”

Regarding the platform worker profile, 62.2% are men and 37.8% women, between 30 and 44 years old (45.9%), the self-employed group is predominant (27%) and the one that dedicates more hours to this activity, and as for the level of education, 55.4% are people with university degrees.

The representatives of the union and the UAB have insisted on not associating the image of the platform worker only with the “riders” or drivers of companies such as Uber and Cabify, but journalists and engineers, for example, are also involved in the economy of platform.

The secretary of Attention to Affiliation, Studies and Management Coordination, Dolors Llobet, explained that this first report has had the support of the Barcelona City Council and is part of an embryonic project through which CCOO intends to create an Observatory of the Platform work.

This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.