Workers 'underpaid' on digital platforms

Workers 'underpaid' on digital platforms

Digital labour platforms have grown dramatically during the pandemic but the conditions of their workers have not kept up, a public forum organised by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) and the Labour Ministry was told.

The forum sought feedback on research into the challenges faced by such workers, including their reportedly being underpaid and a lack of access to government welfare.

Porranee Phuprasert, director of ThaiHealth's Populations Health Promotion Section, said many workers were made redundant as a result of the pandemic, while some businesses were forced to suspend or close.

With the pandemic, new occupations emerged in the form of digital platforms for trade and services, contributing to the use of short-term employment contracts.

Many people -- including informal workers engaging in street vending, home-based work, waste picking, domestic jobs and other short-term contractors -- have used online platforms to earn money through delivery or housework services, Ms Porranee said. But these informal workers may be disqualified for seeking welfare and privileges from the government.

Thanee Chaiwat, lecturer of economics at Chulalongkorn University and head of the research team, said Thailand lacks clear protection laws for informal workers on digital platforms.

The research -- conducted among 1,000 workers involved in driver services, food delivery services and housework groups from August 2020 to March last year -- indicated there was widespread unfair payment and unequal labour welfare issues.

Mr Thanee said the study called for employers to provide clear contracts, set a minimum wage and promote business and financial literacy among this labour group.

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