Gig work as a manifestation of short-termism: Crafting a sustainable regulatory agenda

Tonia A Novitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


Commercial platforms were once lauded as a facet of the sustainable ‘sharing economy’. Today the short-termism associated with ‘gig work’ is widely condemned as an obstacle to sustainable development. This article begins by examining what is meant by ‘sustainability’, including how we might interpret and apply the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN) and endorsed by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The second substantive part of the article analyses contemporary practices associated with intermittent and insecure platform work which have been identified globally, with reference to longer term and inter-related economic, environmental and social effects. The third part reflects on how appreciation of these effects could shape a future reform agenda oriented towards sustainable development. It is argued that recognition of the desirability of sustainability could enhance the case for holistic legal reform, promoting collective solidarity and action across geographical and temporal borders, while traversing doctrinal boundaries, to make gig work (as we now know it) a thing of the past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-661
Number of pages26
JournalIndustrial Law Journal
Issue number4
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2021
EventWork on Demand Summer Seminar Series - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jun 20214 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021.

Structured keywords

  • Perspectives on Work
  • Centre for Law at Work
  • Centre for Global Law and Innovation
  • Centre for Law and Enterprise


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