COVID-19 and Platform Work in Germany: Lessons for the New Normal

Herzog, Lorena
Cooiman, Franziska
Gerber, Christine
Wandjo, David
ISSN der Zeitschrift
Weizenbaum Institute

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when public life was largely brought to a standstill by lockdowns and curfews, the vast presence of last-mile-delivery workers rushing to deliver parcels, grocery shopping or take- away-meals on the streets of German cities came to the fore. Platform-based service provision has become widespread in recent years. The platform economy more than quadrupled in recent years, reaching a size of 14bn EUR in 2020, compared to just 3bn EUR in 2016 (European Council 2023). COVID-19 has created an exceptional situation, both for platforms and platform workers: Platform companies faced unstable economic conditions and government restrictions. Meanwhile, many platform workers, especially in the delivery and mobility sector, were exposed to significant health risks as they ensured the upholding of social reproduction throughout the pandemic. However, public attention for the perils of platform workers has quickly died down again. Today, the platform economy continues to provide sought-after services and constitutes a source of income for a growing number of workers struggling with precarious employment conditions. It is crucial to take stock of the effects of COVID-19 on the platform economy and its workers – both to gain an understanding of the new normal of platform work in the post-pandemic economy and to determine the political changes necessary to shape this new normal in favor of fair and decent working conditions and a resilient economy.

Sociology & anthropology
Verwandte Ressource
Verwandte Ressource
Herzog, L., Cooiman, F., Gerber, C. & Wandjo, D. (2024). COVID-19 and Platform Work in Germany: Lessons for the New Normal (Weizenbaum Series 34).