The labour law framework: self-employed and their right to bargain collectively.

This paper focuses on the right to collective bargaining of self-employed workers vis-à-vis antitrust law under a European and International perspective. It argues that the current approach of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Commission to this question is at odds with international sources of laws as it excessively limits the fundamental right to collective bargaining of self-employed workers. It does so by comparing the EU approach to the relevant normative sources of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Council of Europe. It advocates the adoption of a ‘personal work relations’ approach to solving this conflict. Accordingly, the authors suggest the adoption of an EU instrument laying down rights to collective bargaining that apply to ‘every worker in the European Union that provides work or services in a predominantly personal capacity and is not genuinely operating a business undertaking on his or her own account.’

Countouris, N., and De Stefano, V. (2021), ‘The labour law framework: self-employed and their right to bargain collectively.’, Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations, 9 Jan.


  • Research publication
  • EU 27
  • Yes
  • no specific sector focus
  • employment status, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue, Sector aspects, competition, lobbying
  • English
  • Bulletin of comparative labour relations
  • 2021
  • Subscription
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