Case studies on digital labour platforms in Portugal: 2nd National Report of Project Crowdwork

Boavida, Nuno, António B. Moniz, Reinhard Naumann, Isabel Roque, and Raquel Azevedo. Case studies on digital labour platforms in Portugal: 2nd National Report of Project Crowdwork. Lisbon: CICS.NOVA, 2021.

Report Date:

July 2021


The so called “crowd work” is an employment form that uses a digital platform to enable organisations or individuals to access other organisations or individuals to solve specific problems or to provide specific services in exchange for payment (Valenduc and Vendramin, 2016). There are many alternative terms for crowd work used in European member states, such as crowd sourcing, crowd employment, sharing economy, platform economy, gig economy, on-demand economy, collaborative economy, Peer-to-peer economy, among others (Eurofound 2018). Recently, the term “digital platform work” has developed recently to be dominant in the literature to refer to sectors where this technology has arrived. Accordingly, this report will proceed using the latter term. These forms of online intermediation have expanded from creative and high-skilled professional activities that became virtualised as a result of digitalisation to a variety of other services and activities, traditionally delivered by self-employed, that involve the maintenance or repair of material commodities or the delivery of services in person, such as cleaning, gardening, household maintenance and transport (Huws, 2017). As a result of this, workers profiles vary from highly skilled IT and creative professionals to very unskilled workers. It has been also noted that many digital platform workers are young people looking for extra income such as students, unemployed or carers (Valenduc and Vendramin, 2016). The main Portuguese reference about work in digital platforms is fused with the Uber app. Its controversial arrival in 2014 triggered fierce responses from several groups. The main legislative reference on digital platform work is the ‘Uber law’. The symbolism of the app expressed as ‘Uberization’ became synonymous of the ‘new’ precariat, seen as a hassle of technology and an attack to organized labour in the country. There are also regulations for Airbnb at state, regional and municipal level intended to limit the number of lodgings in certain areas where touristic activities are very intense. In general, the other platforms are not covered by specific regulations.

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