Towards collective protections for crowdworkers: Italy, Spain and France in the EU context

The 'sharing economy' and the collaborative economy are shaping new forms of employment in which digital platforms enable multilateral work relationships. This article discusses some initiatives aimed at the collective protection of crowdworkers. The first section investigates whether it is possible to extend EU labour protection – in particular, collective rights – to independent digital contractors. The second section looks at whether the national level may offer more effective measures for economically dependent digital workers or for distance workers, by comparing three selected countries: Italy, France and Spain. The article then explores the possibility of extending to crowdworkers the protections offered by collective bargaining and addresses how trade unions could have a role in implementing guarantees for crowdworkers. Comparative analysis is used to show how different constitutional systems recognise freedom of association, especially in relation to 'subordinated' workers. A strategy of viewing collective rights as human rights could be applied in order to reduce the contractual weakness of self-employed workers on digital platforms – and might even form the basis of a bill of rights.

Donini, A., Forlivesi, M., Rota, A., Tullini, P. (2017), ‘Towards collective protections for crowdworkers: Italy, Spain and France in the EU context’, Transfer, 23(2), pp. 207–223.


  • Research publication
  • France, Italy, Spain, EU28
  • Yes
  • no specific sector focus
  • employment status, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue, legal issues
  • English
  • Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • 2017
  • Subscription
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