EU competition law should not impede collective bargaining for self-employed

The Commission invites the public to provide input by 3 February

The Commission has published an inception impact assessment as part of the process that aims at ensuring that EU competition rules do not stand in the way of collective bargaining for those who need it. 

Digitisation is profoundly affecting the way people work, creating new opportunities also in the labour markets, the Commission says adding that evidence shows for instance that a growing number of individuals engage in platform work.

But digitisation can also create challenges for individuals and put pressure on working conditions. These challenges are also present in certain forms of self-employment outside the platform economy.

European competition rules do not apply to collective bargaining by workers but collective bargaining by self-employed considered as “undertakings” could be caught by competition rules. 

Whilst it is not for competition policy to address the social challenges faced by vulnerable self-employed, EU competition rules should not be an obstacle to collective negotiations or agreements that aim at improving the working conditions of these individuals.

In the inception impact assessment, the Commission has set out initial options to clarify that, provided that certain conditions are met, working conditions can be improved through collective agreements not only for employees but also for those self-employed who need protection, in line with EU competition rules.

The Commission proposes to assess these different options through an impact assessment. The published inception impact assessment is an opportunity for the public and for all relevant stakeholders to comment on the form and scope of the initiative. Stakeholders are invited to provide input by 3 February this year. A more detailed public consultation, based on a questionnaire, will take place during the first quarter of 2021.

 

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