Empowering platform workers: granting collective bargaining rights

Gabriël van Rosmalen (Utrecht University)


The rise of digital labour platforms has exposed the vulnerable position of platform workers in today's economy. These workers, such as Uber drivers or Deliveroo bikers, lack insurance coverage, paid leave and pension contribution. Traditionally, labour unions have played a crucial role in protecting workers’ rights, but solo self-employed platform workers have faced obstacles due to competition law. In response, the European Commission introduced the EU Platform Work Package in 2021 to improve the working conditions of platform workers. This article questions how the Commission aims to enable collective bargaining for self-employed workers, particularly those affiliated with digital labour platforms. It explores the limitations imposed by the relationship between labour law and competition law, which has been hindering collective bargaining for self-employed workers. The article argues that the Commission's approach signifies a departure from previous practices and the direction developed by the European Court of Justice. The Commission decouples the right to collective bargaining from a worker's labour law status, thus breaking away from the binary distinction between workers and undertakings.

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