Outsmarting the gig-economy through collective bargaining - EU competition law as a barrier?

Dagmar Schiek, Andrea Gideon

Research output: Working paper

6 Citations (Scopus)
464 Downloads (Pure)


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 industrial action. Dissatisfaction resulted from extremely low levels of pay as well as a new payment calculation 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 platforms 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.

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