Indonesian officials routinely highlight the success of the Indonesian ride-hailing unicorn company Gojek, whose founder Nadiem Makarim became education minister in President Joko Widodo’s latest cabinet. The green jackets of Gojek’s motorcycle taxi drivers and its regional competitor Grab have become ubiquitous in Indonesia’s cities. Both companies also offer online taxis, food delivery, and a range of other services through their apps.


Companies like GoJek and Grab claim to provide a platform to more efficiently bring service providers and customers together, but across the world their critics say such companies have eroded workers’ rights and made the nature of work more precarious. How do these dynamics play out in Indonesia, a country where tens of millions of people have always worked in the informal sector under very adverse conditions?


In this week’s Talking Indonesia podcast, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues with Diatyka Widya Permata Yasih, a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, who has interviewed dozens of GoJek and Grab drivers for her research on the gig economy. Her research on the gig economy is also featured in the inaugural edition of Melbourne Asia Review, a new online publication launched by the Asia Institute on 16 March.


The Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Singapore Management University.


Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight.  Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Agus Bebeng for Antara.



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