Are apps the future of work? The work of food delivery workers during the pandemic

Lecture by Dominika Polkowska (UMCS)

After the lecture, we will have a discussion. The meeting will be held on Zoom. Registration required (open until 7.04.2021) via the application form on our website. We will e-mail the link to the meeting to registered participants. We are planning live streaming of Facebook. The meeting will be recorded and archived on our YouTube channel and in Resources on Biennale website. To protect your image, we ask you to keep your cameras and microphones off during the entire event. But we do encourage you to join the discussion and send us questions on the chat. The moderators  will ask them on your behalf.

Applications and digital platforms which enable to order food quickly and easily, from the systemic perspective could be regarded as one of the forms of advancing privatization of social supply. Instead of contributing to the universal redistribution of food, technological changes enabled corporations to accumulate surplus, obtained by employing workers on extremely precarious conditions and charging private caterers with high margins. Dominika Polkowska’s lecture will concern changes in the food supply chain from the perspective of people working as couriers for digital platforms such as Glovo and Uber Eats.  In spring and autumn 2020 – in the peak moments of the pandemic – the researcher conducted in-depth interviews with persons who work delivering food. Why is the invisible work of migrant couriers often presented as the embodiment of progress? Who really stands behind the food delivered to our doors and what are their work conditions? By analysing precarisation processes in the broader context of technological changes, we want to ponder the potential of unionization in sectors governed by exorbitant norms of apps and their broader meaning for the social organisation of social reproduction.