ELSU’s engagement for platform workers in Ireland
The English Language Students’ Union (ELSU) is a group officially formed in May 2020 to campaign for the rights of language students in Ireland. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the English Language Education (ELE) school sector faced a crisis, which left international English language students in vulnerable situations as they could neither continue their education nor, in most cases, obtain refunds from their schools. The union branched into working with delivery riders working via platforms as many English language students work as deliverers for platform companies.
In this context, ELSU focuses on the problems faced by student workers in relation to temporary and part-time work permits. As students are limited to work only 20 hours per week and as non-European migrants, they are often coerced into subcontracted work (by renting a delivery account form an Irish or European citizen or Stamp Four visa holder). These situations are conducive to exploitative employment relationships. In response, ELSU demands that international students should be allowed to work 40h per week in order to receive a living wage and that Stamp Two visa holders should have the right to hold their own delivery accounts.
To increase representation and bargaining power, ELSU has been encouraging riders to join the trade union SIPTU. However, the problem remains that union representation is only possible for EU citizens, which makes collective organising difficult.
- Awareness raising, campaigns, information provision, Organising and representing workers
- Employee organisation
- On-location platform-determined routine work