Cookies and Privacy

The University uses cookies on this website to provide the best experience possible including delivering personalised content on this website, other websites and social media. By continuing to use the site you agree to this, or your can go to our cookie policy to learn more and manage your settings.

Work-Related Pressures in the Digital Age of the “Gig Economy”

The central premise of this project is the question as to whether current manslaughter laws are sufficient when we consider the changing nature of work as we have shifted from production centric to a service economy – exacerbated by digital technologies. 

Work-Related Pressures and the gig economy

Researchers

Research background 

One of the fastest-growing industries is the courier service sector, which includes jobs such as Amazon Prime. While current laws capture a range of scenarios related to vehicular homicides, this shift to zero-hour contract transient work, which operates under a “payment by number of deliveries” poses serious questions regarding responsibility and culpability. There have been a number of reported fatalities and serious accidents caused by such drivers, yet the companies they work for repeatedly disavow any responsibility. It is important to consider how this move to a gig economy is slowly removing corporate responsibility whilst there is little attention to the increasing workloads and pressures on drivers.

It is evident that there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of such issues in terms of legislation, criminal justice, and worker’s rights. This project intends to address how the rapidly changing work environment creates pressures that may negatively impact the safety of both drivers and pedestrians.

Research aims and methods 

This project aims to develop a multidisciplinary programme of enquiry into the pressures generated by employers in the transient service economy in relation to collisions and fatalities via:

  1. Conducting five focus groups with former and current delivery drivers; 
  2. Determining– on a scale of significance – the perceived pressures and stresses experienced by former and current delivery drivers;
  3. Determining current and emerging challenges for individuals who work within the transient service industry.

Projected outcomes 

This project intends to address how the rapidly changing work environment creates pressures that may negatively impact the safety of both drivers and pedestrians.