Collective agreements are an opportunity for better occupational health and safety of solo self-employed workers.

VS – 02/2022

The European Commission's draft guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements on working conditions for solo self-employed workers is part of the package of measures on platform work presented by the European Commission on 9 December 2021. The European Commission has invited all interested parties to comment on this (see also News December 2021). DSV took the opportunity to submit its opinion on 10 February.

Seize opportunities – ensure social protection

The digital transformation is giving rise to new forms of employment that create more flexible working models. These can be advantageous for both parties to the contract. However, some also pose occupational health and safety risks. This includes the employment relationships of solo self-employed workers (i.e. self-employed without employees) when their clients have a much stronger negotiating position. Collective bargaining is one way to counteract this and to better protect the working conditions of solo self-employed workers and ensure minimum occupational health and safety standards. In doing so, the draft guidelines explicitly include solo self-employed workers on digital labour platforms.

The draft guidelines are intended to create legal certainty and ensure that EU competition law does not preclude collective agreements of solo self-employed workers on their working conditions and remuneration.

Collective bargaining is an important instrument for improving occupational health and safety

German Social Insurance shares the European Commission's assessment that collective bargaining can be an important instrument for improving the working conditions of solo self-employed workers and supports the proposed prioritisation in the application of EU competition law. This will create a framework that addresses occupational health and safety as well as allows consumers and business to continue to benefit from competitive prices and innovative business models.

Next steps

The draft is to be adopted by the European Commission following the consultation. The guidelines are binding on the European Commission regarding its subsequent interpretation and enforcement of the EU competition rules.