By Nicole Lee
COVID-19 is affecting millions of people. Not only are people’s health at risk, but many workers have additional worries about whether or not they will be able to provide for their families.
Gig workers are people who provide transportation, make deliveries, shop for supplies, and carry out many more jobs. Many of these workers currently struggle to make ends meet and are not making nearly enough as they were during pre-pandemic times. Furthermore, most gig workers do not have the safety net of a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and health protections. As these workers lose their jobs due to their decrease in demand, unemployment rates continue to skyrocket as people compete for jobs that pay an even lower rate than their previous jobs as gig workers. In addition to worries over job security, gig workers are at high risk of exposure to the virus, as they are in occupations that require frequent interaction.
Capturing the Stories of Gig Workers from Around the World
Our Lives in Transit series features gig workers and people in movement.
Basak Taner, a pharmaceutical delivery driver from Istanbul, Turkey, devotes her work hours to delivering goods for those in her neighborhood. Basak decided to take on this opportunity to help those around her because assisting others is her way of giving back to her community. Her neighbors always express their gratitude towards Basak because many are not able to get medications themselves.
Like Basak, Seunghwan Seo, another delivery worker from Seoul, South Korea, taught us a lot about the struggles and experiences for gig workers on a daily basis. Seunghwan is an assistant manager of a company that prides itself on helping everyone with everyday tasks. In his interview, he talks about how people would call their company to get rid of bugs, provide transportation to the disabled, remove dead animals, and many more. But in the end, regardless of the job opportunities that he is tasked with by his customers, he enjoys his job because it is to help those around him.
Supporting Gig Workers Today
People like Basak and Seunghwan are necessary to hold our society together. Gig workers carry out jobs that millions of people need daily, which is why we should respect their work and provide them with the right protections and benefits that they deserve. Be sure to support gig workers through campaigns like GigWorkersRising.org.