Pushing Back Against a Pseudoemployer: The Case of App-Based Motorcycle Taxi Drivers in Indonesia

Abstract

Around the world, app-based transport services like Uber and Lyft are now embedded in the everyday experience of consumers. But what does it mean for the drivers involved? In Indonesia, online motorcycle taxi drivers initially enjoyed more regular orders and other benefits, like accident insurance. Over time, however, their income streams have reduced. In addition to engaging in everyday acts of resistance in the face of increasing exploitation, they have come together to rally against the companies behind the platforms in what for many of these drivers is their first-ever experience of engaging with and protesting against an entity that—while not officially their employer—is employer-like in its behaviour. In some cases, collective action has led to the creation of formal organisations, including driver communities and unions, that allow drivers to engage in more structured ways with the government as well as the platforms.

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