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Platform Work in the Nordic Models

Issues, Cases and Responses

image of Platform Work in the Nordic Models

Available online: https://pub.norden.org/temanord2020-513/ Abstract [en]: This report explores how the platform economy is evolving in the Nordic countries and how its evolution is influenced by the Nordic labour market models and vice-versa. Here, we include all the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), except Iceland, where platform work is still very marginal. While remaining a marginal phenomenon in the Nordic countries, platform work can be seen as one important case in which many key aspects of the changing world of work coalesce. This report on platform work in the Nordic countries thus connects some of the themes explored in the other pillars of the NFoW project, such as digitalization, new forms of employment and the legal and regulatory challenges currently faced by the social partners, governments and Nordic labour market models.

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Introduction

Strong social partners, encompassing collective bargaining systems and generous welfare states, characterize the Nordic labour market models. However, the past decade has witnessed the rise of platform companies such as Uber and Upwork, where none of these features are present. Through apps and algorithms, these companies match consumers and workers, position themselves as intermediaries, and lean on a workforce of solo self-employed2 or atypical employees. While offering promising prospects for innovation, flexible jobs and new sources of income, these new business models – often referred to as the platform economy – tend to shift risk onto the workers, and challenge the traditional employment relationship upon which the Nordic model of work and welfare is based. If the platform economy expands, a larger proportion of the Nordic workforce is likely to be self-employed and have weaker rights than employees to representation, collective bargaining and social protection.

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