The European Commission strengthens the
rights of self-employed workers in the EU and adopted the Guideline
on Collective Bargaining for Solo Self-Employed Workers on 29 September.
This provides for associations of solo self-employed workers to be able to
conduct collective bargaining in the future if they meet certain criteria. The
European Commission's initiative is related to the Draft
Directive for Platform Workers, which is expected to be adopted in 2023.
far, EU competition law does not allow collective bargaining for self-employed
workers. This is because, under EU competition law, self-employed persons count
legally like companies, which are not allowed, for example, to fix prices among
themselves. Thus, it has hardly been possible for solo self-employed workers to
organise themselves as employees and negotiate collective agreements for better
working conditions and wages.
Criteria for collective bargaining
European Commission wants to change that. Competition law is now no longer to
be applied to self-employed persons whose work situation can be compared to
that of a dependent employee. According to the European Commission, this can be
determined on the basis of three criteria:
- Economically dependent solo
self-employed: This includes self-employed individuals who receive more than 50
per cent of their income from one contracting entity.
- Solo self-employed who work
"alongside" employees: This includes self-employed persons who are
responsible for the same or similar tasks as salaried employees of the
- Platform workers: This includes
solo self-employed workers who work for a digital work platform.
Overlaps with platform work
draft guidelines for collective bargaining for solo self-employed workers, like
the draft directive for platform workers, are part of the Package
of Measures on Platform Employment presented on 9 December 2021. Both
projects aim to improve the working
conditions of platform workers. However, while the draft Directive only
targets employees at digital work platforms, the draft guidelines include all
solo self-employed workers - regardless of which company is the contracting
DSV welcomes collective bargaining for the self-employed
European Commission has already launched the first steps for the initiative on
collective bargaining for the self-employed in June 2020. The DSV has announced in a position paper its support for the European Commission's
proposal and affirmed that collective bargaining is an important instrument for
better working conditions as well as for the health and safety at work of the