“principle justifying collective agreements is power imbalance”

“principle justifying collective agreements is power imbalance”

Highlighting the joint work of UNI Europa within the EAEA in removing EU-level legal barriers to collective bargaining for solo self-employed workers, William Maunier addressed the Congress of the ETUC on 24 May 2023. He is Vice-President of UNI Europa and General Secretary of SNRT-CGT.

“Principle justifying collective agreements is power imbalance”

Highlighting the joint work of UNI Europa, FIA – International Federation of Actors and International Federation of Musicians in removing EU-level legal barriers to collective bargaining for solo self-employed workers, William Maunier addressed the Congress of the ETUC on 24 May 2023. He is Vice-President of UNI Europa and General Secretary of SNRT CGT Audiovisuel. Here is an auto-translated English transcription of his intervention: Good morning dear delegates, dear comrades. It is together, all together, with all workers that we will change work for the future and for the better. I would like to talk to you briefly about the action that we have taken, that we are taking at UNI Europa and EAEA, which is the European Alliance for Media, Entertainment and the Arts, towards self-employed workers, with the support of the ETUC, and in particular on the guidelines that were adopted by the European Commission in September 2022. There are around 24 million self-employed workers in the European Union. Until now, questionable and contested interpretations of European competition law have effectively excluded many of them from collective bargaining. The guidelines on collective agreements for solo self-employed workers, adopted by the European Commission at the end of September, remove some of the main obstacles that have prevented these workers from being able to negotiate their working conditions collectively. They recognise, and I quote, that “some of these workers face major difficulties in influencing their working conditions, and that this is particularly the case for those who work alone and have to earn a living from their activity alone. Collective bargaining is therefore a good and important way of improving their working conditions.” For us, the guidelines therefore protect the fundamental right to collective bargaining of genuine self-employed workers. At EAEA and UNI Europa, we are well aware that some employers want a guarantee when they agree to engage in negotiations. More than once, national competition authorities have intervened in the past to annul collective agreements in the entertainment and media sector, for example for actors, authors, musicians and performers. I am thinking in particular of an agreement on actors which was invalidated on the grounds of cartel. That’s why these guidelines, on which we’ve worked so hard, are so important to us and, in a way, can be a game-changer. In its guidelines, the European Commission is committed to no longer applying competition rules to specific national legislation that provides for collective bargaining in specific sectors, such as the media sector in Germany. Very important provisions of the Copyright Directive could therefore be used to promote collective bargaining among authors and performers, over and above the issue of fair remuneration. The European Commission explicitly states that it will not intervene against collective agreements concerning the working conditions of solo self-employed workers, who are covered by national legislation pursuing social objectives. EU Member States can therefore adopt new laws to increase the protection of self-employed workers, which opens up an avenue for future action. In addition, the guidelines state that the European Commission will not intervene where solo self-employed workers have negotiated collective agreements with one or more representatives of all industrial sectors. It is therefore important to move forward bearing in mind that the fundamental principle justifying collective agreements is the imbalance of power. I would like to thank UNI Europa and the ETUC for all the help they have given us in including these workers in collective bargaining. Thank you very much.

Posted by UNI Europa on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

 

Here is an auto-translated English transcription of his intervention:

Good morning dear delegates, dear comrades.

It is together, all together, with all workers that we will change work for the future and for the better. I would like to talk to you briefly about the action that we have taken, that we are taking at UNI Europa and EAEA, which is the European Alliance for Media, Entertainment and the Arts, towards self-employed workers, with the support of the ETUC, and in particular on the guidelines that were adopted by the European Commission in September 2022.

There are around 24 million self-employed workers in the European Union. Until now, questionable and contested interpretations of European competition law have effectively excluded many of them from collective bargaining. The guidelines on collective agreements for solo self-employed workers, adopted by the European Commission at the end of September, remove some of the main obstacles that have prevented these workers from being able to negotiate their working conditions collectively.

They recognise, and I quote, that “some of these workers face major difficulties in influencing their working conditions, and that this is particularly the case for those who work alone and have to earn a living from their activity alone. Collective bargaining is therefore a good and important way of improving their working conditions.” For us, the guidelines therefore protect the fundamental right to collective bargaining of genuine self-employed workers.

At EAEA and UNI Europa, we are well aware that some employers want a guarantee when they agree to engage in negotiations. More than once, national competition authorities have intervened in the past to annul collective agreements in the entertainment and media sector, for example for actors, authors, musicians and performers. I am thinking in particular of an agreement on actors which was invalidated on the grounds of cartel.

That’s why these guidelines, on which we’ve worked so hard, are so important to us and, in a way, can be a game-changer. In its guidelines, the European Commission is committed to no longer applying competition rules to specific national legislation that provides for collective bargaining in specific sectors, such as the media sector in Germany.

Very important provisions of the Copyright Directive could therefore be used to promote collective bargaining among authors and performers, over and above the issue of fair remuneration. The European Commission explicitly states that it will not intervene against collective agreements concerning the working conditions of solo self-employed workers, who are covered by national legislation pursuing social objectives.

EU Member States can therefore adopt new laws to increase the protection of self-employed workers, which opens up an avenue for future action. In addition, the guidelines state that the European Commission will not intervene where solo self-employed workers have negotiated collective agreements with one or more representatives of all industrial sectors.

It is therefore important to move forward bearing in mind that the fundamental principle justifying collective agreements is the imbalance of power.

I would like to thank UNI Europa and the ETUC for all the help they have given us in including these workers in collective bargaining. Thank you very much.

Meetings & Events

2024

27

Feb

-

27

Feb

Commerce EWC network meeting

Commerce

05

Mar

Sectoral SD Committee Postal Services Working Group Meeting

Post & Logistics

Timing: TBC

05

Mar

-

05

Mar

Commerce Steering Committee

Commerce