A new study from Flinders University has outlined the ongoing exploitation of gig workers who are taken advantage of through promises of flexible algorithm.

The study finds that limited union power, inadequate legal reforms, and a lack of other protections for the new economy continue to disadvantage workers, while strengthening the power of companies operating in such a “precarious” causal labor market.

According to the study, the main challenges facing the gig economy industry include the lack of definitions of gig economy employment and the vulnerability of temporary migrants and people with culturally and linguistically different backgrounds.

“We argue that the gig companies use the algorithm and the ‘flexibility and autonomy’ arguments to take away responsibility from themselves, while spinning the model as positive for the gig worker (by using the ‘they can choose how much / how often they want to engage’ argument),” said Marinella Marmo, an associate professor of criminal justice and human rights at Flinders University.

The study titled “Worker exploitation in the Australian gig economy: emerging mechanisms of social control” was published by researchers at Finders University.