Legislation, like that proposed in the UK, to compel companies to treat “gig economy” workers more like employees, could offer couriers some protection, says Patsy Perry, senior lecturer in fashion marketing at the University of Manchester in the UK. Reforms have been promised by courier companies there after a class-action lawsuit by drivers and the death of a courier.
“So we really need legislation, or a disaster, to make a difference, as we saw with (the) Rana Plaza (textile factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013, which left more than 1,100 people dead),” Perry says.
Consumers can be “super powerful” in an age where brands are very conscious of criticism on social media, she says. Brands could be forced to change how they have been doing things for years if consumers asked questions about the working conditions of people along the fashion supply chain.
“There isn’t much information on (couriers) at the moment, but it’s the next thing waiting to blow up in fast fashion,” she adds.