Nov 08

Crowdworking Platforms Announce Ombuds Office

Nuremberg, 08.11.2017 – Streetspotr together with seven other leading crowdworking platforms in Europe, the German Crowdsourcing Association, and the German Metalworkers’ Union (IG Metall) announced the establishment of a joint Ombuds Office. The purpose of the Ombuds Office is to resolve disputes between crowdworkers, clients, and crowdsourcing platforms and to oversee the enforcement of the Crowdsourcing “Code of Conduct” adopted by the platforms. 

The Code of Conduct was initiated in 2015 by the German platform Testbirds; Streetspotr, clickworker, Crowd Guru, appJobber, content.de, and ShopScout from Germany as well as the British platform BugFinders have also signed. In total, more than two million people have registered on the named platforms. 

The Code of Conduct is currently the only agreement globally in which online platforms agree to adhere to certain minimum standards. With the Code of Conduct, the platforms succeeded in defining the existing standards regarding fair treatment of crowdworkers in Germany and in maintaining and ensuring them in a growing market of the future. 

The Ombuds Office board represents platforms and workers equally; all members are volunteers. Dr. Silke Kohlschitter, labor judge in Frankfurt, will serve as the board’s neutral chair. Furthermore, the German Crowdsourcing Association (by Thomas Andersen), the platforms (by Susanne Reichert from Testbirds respectively Dr. Arne-Christian Sigge from content.de), the German Metalworkers’ Union (by Robert Fuß), and the crowdworkers (by Olaf Hoffmann) are represented on the board. 

Affected crowdworkers may address the Ombuds Office via an online form. Before they do so, however, they must attempt to resolve the case directly with the concerned platform itself; only then the Ombuds Office will take action. The Ombuds Office will deal with both disputes concerning payments and other matters, such as work processes on the platforms. All cases will remain confidential. The Ombuds Office will publish a yearly report about its activities. 

“We are highly concerned with the satisfaction of our crowdworkers and of course also that of our clients. We, as a platform, can only work, if we provide fair conditions. For that reason, we have not only signed the Code of Conduct but also strongly support the work of the newly established Ombuds Office.”, Dorothea Utzt, CEO and Co-Founder of Streetspotr.

Christiane Benner, Vice President of IG Metall, said: “We are convinced that good working conditions can be achieved on digital labor platforms. The Ombuds Office is a further step in this direction. It is important to us that workers are directly involved in shaping their own conditions of work, so we are especially pleased that crowd workers are directly represented in the Ombuds Office board.”

“In the future, more and more innovative services will be delivered by the crowd. Crowdwork is only one way of organizing work that will grow in the future but that we can shape today. In case of conflicts among the participants, it is better to let the involved parties handle the matter directly than to rely on laws that may not reflect the details of a given case. For this reason, solutions on and with the platforms themselves have priority.”, says Thomas Andersen, member of the board of the German Crowdsourcing Association, in connection with the announcement.

About the Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct for fair crowdworking was presented to the public in July 2015. The first platforms to sign it were Testbirds, Streetspotr, and clickworker. This voluntary self-commitment is meant to regulate the collaboration between platforms, clients, and crowdworkers and to create fair conditions. The Code of Conduct did aim and still aims at establishing general guidelines for crowdworking. In the beginning of 2017 a second, extended version of the Code of Conduct with more signing platforms was presented. All information concerning the Code of Conduct here http://crowdsourcing-code.com/.