Wildcat Strike Season: The Origin and Limits of Platform Driver Protests during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Indonesia
This article examines the widespread protest actions carried out by gig workers, especially actions using the wildcat strike, with case studies from Indonesia. During the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 to March 2022), a total of 47 wildcat strikes were carried out by platform drivers in Indonesia. Why were most of the protests by gig workers in Indonesia carried out through wildcat strikes? Can these wildcat strike actions win workers’ demands? Unlike the claims of several scholars that wildcat strikes tend to appear in authoritarian state labour control regimes, becoming, in these cases, an effective form of movement in winning demands, in Indonesia a despotic labour market, repressive employers’ actions, platform drivers’ distrust of existing driver organisations and the obstacles to organising can explain the emergence of wildcat strikes. Though these tend to be effective in responding quickly to specific problems at the local level, they have limitations, being unable to win their demands in national or wider contexts.
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