18-20 August 2022

(This is an online conference facilitated by Zoom. The email links to the panels and full papers will be sent to registered participants only. Simultaneous interpretation between English and Mandarin will be offered)

Scholars have shed light on the deregulation of employment relationships and the fragmentation of working-class in the global economy since 1990s. In Asia, while irregular patterns of employment have been widespread for long, a regional trend towards informalization and increasing impredictability has been witnessed. To add to this complex mosaic, the patterns of digitalisation and automation of the economy in the recent years have given rise to an all-encompassing process of flexibilisation and created a new form of platform employment.

The prevalence of platform work is now a global phenomenon. Platform workers engage in labor-intensive work while being physically isolated from each other, controlled remotely by algorithms and often without employee status. They had been seen as having less bargaining and organisational power than employees in the formal sector. However, the rise in platform workers’ collective actions in the last decade demonstrated that they can be organised, and can also bring on significant changes at enterprise and government levels.

Under the pandemic, platform workers had been often deemed as ‘essential workers’ assisting people’s access to daily necessities; yet they bore the risk of financial and physical insecurities. In the past three years, platform-based couriers all over the world took collective actions – including strikes, unionisation and consumer boycott campaigns – against unfair company policies, such as transition towards a piece-rate system, inadequate minimum wage, refusal to pay for equipment repairs and misclassification of workers’ employment statuses.

Against this backdrop, platform labour has become a new focus of multi-disciplinary scholarly inquiry in the fields such as sociology, geography, communications, management, development and legal studies. Emerging literature has covered the issues of working conditions, management control, organising strategies, resistance patterns and legal protections of the platform workers. Although Asia has been the centre of capital accumulation in global capitalism, platform employment and platform labour in Asia is comparatively less explored.

This conference will bring together scholars and practitioners working on platform labour or relevant issues in Asia to debate and discuss on:

Capital formation and management practice of platform economy in Asia

Working conditions and workers’ resistance in platform economy

Labour law protection and state regulations on platform companies

Organising strategies of platform labour by trade unions or alternative labour organisations

Intersectionality and dynamics of class, gender and/or ethnicity in workplace

Technology, and the future of work in Asia and beyond.

Selected papers will be published as a Special Issue of a leading journal or an edited volume of an international publisher.

For enquiry, please contact us at:

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Jack Qiu, National University of Singapore.

Speakers and Participants (to be updated):

Aelim Yun, Institute of Workers’ Rights, Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Law Centre
Anna Tsui, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Bo-Yi Lee, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
Cham Kit Ming, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Chen,shu lun, Secretary-general, Confederation of Taipei Trade Unions
Chris Chan, Royal Holloway, University of London
Dang Thai Binh, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences
Do Quynh Chi, Research Center for Employment Relations, Vietnam
Fu-Fan Chiu, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
Hong Yu Liu, Cambridge University
Jenny Chan, Hong Kong Polyethnic University
Jing Wang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Joe Buckley, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
Kevin Lin, Asian Labour Review
Kriangsak Teerakowitkajorn, Just Economy and Labour Institute, Thailand
Lisa Leung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Mak Tak Ching, Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
Phitchakan Chuangchai, Thammasat University, Thailand
Tat Chor Au-Yeung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Veasna Nuon, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, Cambodia
Yingqin Zheng, Royal Holloway, University of London
Yu Zheng, Digital Organisation and Society Research Centre, Royal Holloway, University of London
Yu-bin Chiu, National Pingtung University
Yun Hao Hsin, Deparpment of Labor, Taipei City, Taiwan
Yvan Yonaha, Chinese University of Hong Kong

This conference is co-organized by:

Department of Social Development, National Pingtung University, Taiwan

Fairwork Foundation, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Digital Organisation and Society Research Centre, Royal Holloway, University of London