Outsmarting the gig-economy through collective bargaining – EU competition law as a barrier to smart cities?

Dagmar Schiek, Andrea Gideon

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In August 2016, drivers delivering meals in London after being booked via the platforms ‘deliveroo’ and ‘UberEATS’ made headlines by challenging working practices in the gig-economy through collective in-dustrial action. Dissatisfaction resulted from extremely low levels of pay as well as a new payment cal-culation system being introduced without consultation. This indicates that the ‘gig-economy’ may not always constitute the smartest solution for those serving within it. However, it also highlights that collective industrial action is far from structurally impossible for workers in the ‘gig-economy’, even though management of labour relies on anonymous and automated micro-management through internet plat-forms and apps. Indeed, collective organisation may seem the smartest solution for upgrading the gig-economy for its workers. This article develops an original contribution to the interface of smart technology in the gig-economy, collective labour rights, and EU competition law. We identify that EU competition law as interpreted by the Court of Justice would hinder collective organisation of those serving the gig-economy and develop a comprehensive re interpretation which allows adaptation of EU competition law to smart employment markets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-294
JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers And Technology
Issue number2-3
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 02 Sept 2018
Event24th International Conference of Europeanists: Council of European Studies - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jul 201714 Jul 2017


  • EU competition law
  • Gig-economy
  • collective bargaining
  • collective labour rights
  • self-employed workers


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