Self-employed, ecommerce and logistics workers: (un)expected forms of social conflic

This is a seminar co-organised by Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) and Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change (CERIC)

Over the last few decades, the decline of western manufacturing and the rise of the platform economy caused radical changes to workforce structure, including a large increase of solo self-employed workers. The ongoing debate mainly discusses how to distinguish between ‘bogus’, ‘dependent’ or ‘genuine’ self-employment. Thus, the focus is usually on the legal status of self-employed workers involved in different activities, from knowledge work to e-commerce supply chains.This seminar will engage the debate on self-employment and logistics by proposing a different perspective: the (re)configuration of social conflict and the (un)expected emergence of workers’ struggles. This will lead to a reflexive conclusion about how the voice of self-employed workers in the knowledge economy and global supply chains are configured and what resources can be mobilised to organise those deeply affected by automation and digitisation.

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More information from the organisers: Gabriella Alberti (, Eleonora Morganti (, Annalisa Murgia (

About the speaker

Sergio Bologna has taught History of the Worker’s Movement and Industrial Society at a number of universities in Italy (Trento, Padua) and Germany (Bremen). His work develops a critical analysis of the changing structures in the contemporary labour market.

In the 1980s, he began a logistics and maritime affairs consultancy for big business and public administrations. Sergio has been a member of expert groups for transport and logistics planning at the Ministry of Infrastructure in Italy.

He is a member of the Board of ACTA, the Italian Freelancers Association, sister organisation of the Freelancers Union in the US and member of EFIP, the EU Forum of Independent Professionals. In his last book “The Rise of the European Self-employed workforce”, he discusses how the development of a collective identity among freelancers can bring to the construction of a network of cooperation and solidarity and to the creation of a freelancers union.