All over the world, the ‘gig economy’ allows companies to ‘employ’ a flexible, yet precarious workforce for instance within the service industry such as food and groceries delivering, cleaning and waiter services. In Denmark, Wolt, Vigo, Hungry, Happy Helper and Hilfr are examples of platform companies that organise and transforms labour in one way or another (Andersen & Spanger 2021). However, as elsewhere in World, the majority of the active workforce on these platforms in Denmark are migrant workers. In Denmark, however, this intersection between transnational migration and digital platforms remains overlooked and unexplored. Drawing attention to the figure of the migrant worker, we explore how digital platforms intermediary work or more precisely ‘employ’ migrant workers. Taking point of departure in the case of the food delivery company Wolt, the paper analyses how the occurrence of the digital platforms change the conditions for a ‘differential inclusion’ (Mezzadra & Neilson 2013) of migrant platform workers on the Danish labour market. The paper asks: How do platform labour foster particular transnational and local mobilities of migrants working on digital platforms at the margins of the Danish labour market? Hence, the aim of the paper is to analyse how transnational migrant platform workers challenge the highly institutionalised categorisations of the so-called ‘Danish labour market model’. In particular, we distinguish between migrants with EU citizenships and non-EU citizenship as the citizenship status play a crucial role for their working conditions in Denmark (Spanger & Hvalköf 2020). The paper draws on qualitative data of interviews with migrant platform workers and the CEO of Wolt Denmark, ethnographic fieldwork and various documents produced by the trade union andW olt. Applying the concept of ‘migration infrastructure’ offered by anthropologists Biao Xiang & Johan Lindquist (2014), we examine and map how different actors such as the migrants themselves, the trade union, the platform company as well as the state apparatus together constitutes particular (im)mobility patterns that challenge the national labour market. Analysing the migrants’ experiences and practices, the paper explores the intertwined (im)mobilities produced in the intersection of digital platforms and transnational migration. Through a case study of Wolt in Denmark we argue that the way in which the migrants working on the digital platforms are positioned at the margins of the labour market depend on how they move and are moved across transnational, national and local spaces. As a result, the intertwinement of the migrants’ transnational and local (im)mobilities reflects another perspective on the precarious working conditions that platform labour produces, which challenge the national labour market institutions.
Period22 Apr 2022
Event title40th International Labour Process Conference
Event typeConference
LocationPadua, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational