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School of Business and Law academics shed light on the gig economy

Covid-19 has put the sector into sharp relief

A new book, co-edited by a University of East London academic, explores the perils and advantages of the gig economy.

Conflict and Shifting Boundaries in the Gig Economy has been compiled by senior lecturer Rebecca Page-Tickell, alongside Elaine Yerby of the London School of Economics (LSE) and features the work of a number of academics from the University of East London’s School of Business and Law.

In their introduction, the co-editors write, “Our premise in the book is that the range of platforms and types of ‘gigs’ available in modern labour markets are disrupting established borders of worker and employee status, organisations, professions and labour markets, and have created conditions for conflict and shifting boundaries in both negative and positive ways.

“This book seeks to contribute to policy debates on the future of work that recognise this complexity through applying an interdisciplinary and multilevel analysis.”

Rebecca Page-Tickell is director of education and experience for the School of Business and Law and is an active researcher in the broader gig economy and workplace conflict and mediation.

She said, “The current Covid-19 crisis has put the gig economy into sharp relief. The lack of employment protection – and, indeed, the lack of physical protections – have been cruelly exposed while, at the same time, the vital nature of the work has been underscored. This calls for a wholescale reappraisal of how the economy uses and exploits the workers in this precarious sector.  Our book aims to tackle many of those complex issues.”

The book also includes chapters from University of East London senior lecturer Barry Collins, who explores employment status and contractual arrangements, while senior lecturer Dr Shampa Roy-Mukherhee examines surplus value and the shifting boundaries of capitalism.

Contributions also come from University of East London colleagues Andrew Boocock, Michael Harrison, Catherine Hobby, Ali Naghieh and Jude Ritchie.

Professor Mohammad Ali, Dean of the Royal Docks School of Business & Law, said, “At the University of East London, we’re committed to producing research that has a meaningful impact on our communities. This thoughtful exploration of the gig economy casts a light on an increasingly important business sector, employing people whose rights and obligations have yet to be fully explored or tested.”

To buy the book or download a sample chapter, goto the Emerald Bookstore website.