The EU, Competition Law and Workers Rights

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

S. Paul, S. McCrystal, & E. McGaughey (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Labor in Competition Law (Cambridge Law Handbooks, pp. 280-297). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108909570.020


labour exception; solo-self-employed; collective bargaining; digital platforms


This paper delves into the ways in which EU competition law affects the right of workers to organize and combine with each other and act, collectively, in the furtherance of their rights and interests at work, in particular by means of collective agreements concluded with one or more employers. It begins by opposing the limited ‘labour exemption’ contained in the recent competition caselaw and contrasts that with a more traditional ‘labour law’ approach, that would typically see collective bargaining as a fundamental, and universal, labour rights to be enjoyed by all workers, or in the alternative will have to integrate the asymmetry of bargaining power between labour and digital monopsonies. We put forward a more nuanced and balanced approach, by reference to the concept of ‘predominantly personal work’, that could act as the new watershed concept around which labour rights and competition law could define their respective fields of operation and which may already inspire the recent Commission’s proposals enabling self-employed without employees (“solo self-employed”) to access the right to bargain collectively on a number of issues with digital platforms.

Request a copy that is accessible using assistive technology (link opens in a new window)

Catalogue Record

Click here to access the catalogue record for this item.