Internet Geographer

Fair Work and Economic Transparency


Fair work

There are now millions of workers that live all over the world, doing work that is outsourced via platforms or apps. Platform work provides essential income and opportunities to many. However, lacking protection from employment law or collective bodies, many platform workers face low pay, precarity, and poor and dangerous working conditions.

The Fairwork Foundation is committed to highlighting best and worst practices in the emerging platform economy. In a partnership with the International Labour Organisation, we have brought together platforms, workers, trade unions, regulators, and academics to set global principles for fair work in the platform economy. Those principles been revised a series of tripartite workshops in South Africa, India, and Germany. Using those principles, we give every platform a ‘fairness’ score.

The Fairwork project draws on the expertise and experience of staff at the Universities of Oxford, Cape Town, Manchester, and the Western Cape on work practices and working conditions in digital labour platforms. Project staff work to translate our principles into measurable thresholds, conduct rigorous research to evaluate platforms against those thresholds, and publish our results in a transparent manner.


Jamie Woodcock, Balaji Parthasarathy, Sandy Fredman, Darcy du Toit, Richard Heeks, Jean-Paul van Belle, Abigail Osiki, Paul Mungai, Fabian Ferrari, Sai Englert, Adam Badger, Mounika Neerukonda, Pradyumna Taduri, Maren Borkert, Srujana Katta, Martin Krzywdzinski, Six Silberman, Niels van Doorn


Graham, M, Woodcock, J., Heeks, R., Fredman, S., du Toit, D., van Belle, J-P., Mungai, P., Osiki, A. 2019. The Fairwork Foundation: Strategies for Improving Platform Work. In Proceedings of the Weizenbaum Conference 2019 "Challenges of Digital Inequality - Digital Education, Digital Work, Digital Life" (pp. 1-8). Berlin

Graham, M. and Woodcock, J. 2018. Towards a Fairer Platform Economy: Introducing the Fairwork Foundation. Alternate Routes. 29. 242-253.

Graham, M and Shaw, J. (eds). 2017. Towards a Fairer Gig Economy. London: Meatspace Press.