New policy brief on collective bargaining and the limits of competition law
Protecting the fundamental labour rights of self-employed workers
A new policy brief authored by Isabelle Schömann has been published by the ETUI. The brief addresses collective bargaining in relation to self-employed workers and the limitations of competition law in this field. The main policy considerations are listed below, however for more information please visit the ETUI's website here.
- An over-inclusive application of EU competition rules restricts access to collective bargaining for self-employed workers, treating collective agreements as illegal cartel agreements.
- EU competition law neglects power imbalances in the labour market and the universal right to collective bargaining, leaving self-employed workers in a vulnerable position without bargaining power.
- A reform of EU competition policies is one step towards addressing this issue. However, such reform becomes unacceptable if it redefines fundamental concepts of collective bargaining or subjects collective agreements to antitrust control.
- This policy brief explains why collective agreements should not be subject to competition law, given their legitimate objective of improving conditions for self-employed workers.
- Self-employed workers enjoy the fundamental right to collective bargaining, while the prerogative to conclude collective agreements on their behalf remains with trade unions as legitimate actors in social dialogue.
- This policy brief, furthermore, calls for a broader discussion on EU competition policy reforms to address negative social impacts resulting from abuses of dominance and monopsony power.