Collective Bargaining Agreements Competition Law

5:29 pm Uncategorized

The current obstacle to EU competition law must therefore be addressed. In this first phase, the Commission works with the social partners and consults public and private sector stakeholders, including competition and government authorities, universities, legal and business practitioners, trade unions and employers` organisations, to assess the need for action at EU level. A first evaluation is expected in autumn 2020, followed by a public consultation. The Commission is expected to publish its proposals for the DSA package and the results of the consultation on the guidelines for horizontal cooperation at the end of this year in early 2021. The collective bargaining impact assessment will start in the autumn of this year and will be followed by a public consultation. But platforms and platform workers in the EU may not have the luxury of waiting. With millions of workers losing their jobs as a result of the covid-19 crisis, the need for clarity is more urgent than ever. While the ECJ has long recognised for workers that collective bargaining is a valid exception to EU competition rules (ECJ 21 September 1999, Albany, C-67/96), the same certainty cannot be found in situations where the parties to the negotiations are not employees but self-employed. Under EU competition law, self-employed workers are considered “companies” and the agreements they have concluded (e.g.B collective agreements) can therefore be covered by EU competition rules and constitute a prohibited antitrust agreement. The case-law of the Court of Justice therefore gives some guidance for distinguishing between false self-employed persons (who must be treated as workers and are part of the economic unit of their `employer`) and independent service providers (who are, on the contrary, independent undertakings and are subject to competition law). But the criteria are not clear enough for platform workers who have both the characteristics of a worker and a truly independent service provider and who risk falling between two chairs. It is a question of clarity.

There is also a question of the scope of competition law. The EC needs to decide to what extent competition law should apply to genuine self-employed persons, given that legislators and competition authorities have not yet reached an agreement (see some examples below). Under competition law, self-employed workers are considered “businesses” (i.e.: Businesses have been classified. As a general rule, competition law prohibits all agreements that prevent, limit or distort competition between undertakings. In particular, competition law expressly prohibits agreements that directly or indirectly set purchase or sale prices or other trading conditions. If permitted, “collective bargaining” with customers – who may themselves be individual consumers – by independent competitors would eliminate competition between those independent competitors and would have the same negative effects on consumers as any other form of agreement between competitors, whether price agreements or agreements, not to “debauch” customers from each other. .

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