Kolektivna pogajanja za samozaposlene – povabilo EFJ
Dragi kolegi, drage članice iz držav članic EU in EFTA!
Z veseljem vam sporočamo, da v Evropski komisiji prihaja do premikov glede kolektivnih pogajanj za samozaposlene – področje uporabe pravil EU o konkurenci, vprašanja, za katerega EFJ skupaj s sestrskimi sindikati iz Evropskega združenja za zabavo (FIM, FIA in UNI-MEI) lobira že več let. Potreba po kolektivnih pogajanjih v imenu svobodnjakov in samozaposlenih delavcev, ne da bi jih pri tem ovirali organi za varstvo konkurence ali izdajatelji z argumentom, da ni dovoljeno niti predlagati priporočenih tarif, na kar organi za varstvo konkurence gledajo kot na določanje cen, je v okviru naše strokovne skupine za svobodne poklice in tudi širše eno izmed naših osrednjih vprašanj.
Komisija je nedavno objavila začetno oceno učinka (glej spodaj), pri tem pa posameznike in deležnike vabi, naj podajo svoje mnenje. Večino izmed doslej prejetih več kot 90 pretežno posamičnih odgovorov so posredovali neodvisni prevajalci, odzvalo se je tudi Flamsko združenje novinarjev (glej spodaj): https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12483-Collective-bargaining-agreements-for-self-employed-scope-of-application-EU-competition-rules
Mnenja sprejemajo do 3. februarja!!! Bilo bi super, če bi se lahko vi, vaš sindikat in posamezni svobodnjaki odzvali in poudarili pomanjkanje enakih delovnih pogojev za samozaposlene, nezmožnost zagotoviti si zadosten zaslužek v pogojih koncentracije medijev in platform, odsotnosti kolektivnih pogajanj, netransparentnost tarif, itd. Omenite lahko izjemno nizke prejemke naših svobodnjakov. Omeniti je treba tudi beg možganov, ki ga spodbujajo takšni nepošteni pogoji dela, saj si vse več svobodnih novinarjev ne more privoščiti, da še naprej opravljajo svoje delo. Izpostaviti moramo potrebo po socialni zaščiti vse bolj prekarnih svobodnjakov, ki jih je pandemija tudi najbolj prizadela! Poleg argumentov, navedenih v oceni učinka, to vpliva tudi na inovativnost in kakovost novinarskih vsebin.
Komisija predlaga štiri možnosti (glej spodaj). V imenu EFJ in njegove skupine za svobodnjake menimo, da je možnost 4, ki je najširša, najboljša ureditev prihodnje uredbe. (Uredba je pravni akt Evropske unije, ki se v vseh državah članicah hkrati neposredno uveljavi z zakonsko močjo in ne zahteva soodločanja Evropskega parlamenta).
Prosimo, da svoje mnenje podate tukaj. Omejitev je 4.000 znakov (odziv EFJ je na koncu):
Komisija nas je vprašala, ali kakšni svobodnjaki delajo neposredno za platforme. Če imate kakšne podatke, nam jih prosim posredujte.
Spodaj je odziv EFJ na to neformalno posvetovanje (temelji na našem odzivu na isto zadevo v okviru posvetovanj o zakonu o digitalnih storitvah). Prosim, da ga prilagodite vaši situaciji in, če je možno, dodate kakšne konkretne številke.
Marca sledi bolj podrobna javna razprava, h kateri bodo vabljene vse nacionalne in evropske organizacije (socialni partnerji). Seveda smo v stiku tudi z ETUC in drugimi panožnimi zvezami. Vaš odziv bo več kot dobrodošel. Če bo šlo vse po sreči, bi lahko v enem letu prišlo do predloga uredbe.
Za nas je pomembno, da se odstranijo ovire in se kolektivna pogajanja omogočijo VSEM našim članom, hkrati pa moramo zagotoviti, da to ostane izključno v rokah socialnih partnerjev, IN NE morebitnih (“rumenih”) organizacij, ki zastopajo svobodne poklice.
Za morebitna vprašanja se obrnite name.
Hvala in lep pozdrav,
Collective bargaining agreements for self-employed – scope of application EU competition rules
Dear colleagues, dear affiliates from EU member states and EFTA,
We are happy to announce that the European Commission is moving on the issue of Collective bargaining agreements for self-employed – scope of application EU competition rules, an issue the EFJ together with its sister unions from the European Entertainment Alliance (FIM, FIA and UNI-MEI) has been lobbying for years. The need for collective bargaining on behalf of freelancers and self-employed workers without being hindered by competition authorities or publishers using the argument that it is not allowed to even propose fees’ recommendations, seen as prize fixing by competition authorities- has been one of our main issues within the Freelance Expert Group and beyond.
The Commission recently has published an inception impact assessment (see below) and invites individuals and stakeholders to respond. From the over 90 mostly individual responses so far most come from independent translators, the Flemish Association of Journalists has also already responded, (see below) see: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12483-Collective-bargaining-agreements-for-self-employed-scope-of-application-EU-competition-rules
Feedback is open till 3 February!!! It would be great if you, your union, individual freelancers can respond and highlight the lack of equal and fair working conditions vis-a-vis self-employed, the impossibility to earn enough within the framework of media and platform concentration, lack of collective bargaining, lack of transparency of fees etc. You can mention the extremely low fees many of our freelancers receive. We shoud also mention the brain drain such unfair working conditions have on freelancers as ever more freelance journalists cannot afford continuing to work as freelance journalists. We should show the urgent need for social protection of the ever more precarious freelance workers, who are also most hit by the pandemic! It also has an effect on innovation, quality of journalism content besides the arguments mentioned by this impact assessment.
The Commission proposes 4 options (see below). On behalf of the EFJ and its Freelance Group, we believe option 4 with the widest scope is the best choice for a future regulation (A regulation is a legal act of the European Union that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously and does not entail co-decision from the European Parliament).
Please respond here. A maximum of 4000 characters (the EFJ submission is slightly below) :
The Commission has asked us whether any freelancers are working directly for the platform economy. If you have any data, please share with us.
Enclosed you’ll find the response by the EFJ to this informal consultation (it is based on our response on the same issue within the framework of the Digital Service Act consultation.) Please adapt it to your situation possibly with some figures.
For information, in March there will be a more detailed public consultation in which all national and European organisations (social partners) will be invited to respond. Of course, we are also in contact with the ETUC and other industry federations. Your input is much appreciated here! If all goes well within a year there may be a proposal for a regulation
For us it is important to remove the barrier and make collective negotiations possible for ALL our members, at the same time we have to make sure that this exercise solely remains in the hands of social partners and NOT any (“yellow”) organisation representing freelancers!
If you have any questions do not hesitate to get back to me.
Thanks and best wishes,
1. EFJ Response
2. example: Flemish Association of Journalists
3 info on impact assessment1. response by the EFJ:
2. Response by Flemish Association of Journalists
The Flemish Association of Journalists represents a significant number of journalists in Flanders/Brussels. In Belgium, almost 1 out of 4 journalists works on a freelance basis. Some of them, especially journalists dealing with local news but also journalists working for digital only media & photo journalists are poorly remunerated. This gives cause for concern because poor social conditions might impact your independence as a journalist.
At this stage, a more appropriate remuneration is a far away dream because of freelancers’ weak individual and collective bargaining position. Individually because media concentration is high in Belgium. Collectively because of legal restrictions as self-employed are considered as undertakings under compettiion law. The latter basically means no publication of (recommended) rates and no room for negotiation with sector partners about eg. minimum rates. National policy differences (in some countries partners actually have entered into collective bargaining agreements for self-employed, …) show that this is an untenable situation. It is time to put an end to legal uncertainty.
3. extract of inception impact assessment
The European Commission has published an inception impact assessment as part of the process that aims at ensuring that EU competition rules do not stand in the way of collective bargaining for those who need it. Digitisation is profoundly affecting the way people work, creating new opportunities also in the labour markets. Evidence shows for instance that a growing number of individuals engage in platform work. However, digitisation can also create challenges for individuals and put pressure on working conditions. These challenges are also present in certain forms of self-employment outside the platform economy. European competition rules do not apply to collective bargaining by workers but collective bargaining by self-employed considered as “undertakings” could be caught by competition rules. Whilst it is not for competition policy to address the social challenges faced by vulnerable self-employed, EU competition rules should not be an obstacle to collective negotiations or agreements that aim at improving the working conditions of these individuals. In the inception impact assessment, the Commission has set out initial options to clarify that, provided that certain conditions are met, working conditions can be improved through collective agreements not only for employees but also for those self-employed who need protection, in line with EU competition rules. The Commission proposes to assess these different options through an impact assessment. The published inception impact assessment is an opportunity for the public and for all relevant stakeholders to comment on the form and scope of the initiative. Stakeholders are invited to provide input by 03/02/2021. A more detailed public consultation, based on a questionnaire, will take place during the first quarter of 2021.
Neither collective negotiations/agreements concerning trading conditions (such as prices charged) to private consumers nor unilateral price fixing would be covered by this initiative. In addition, the initiative would not introduce any obligation on any of the parties to enter into such negotiations or to conclude collective agreements: it would merely clarify that EU competition law would not stand in the way of such agreements where the parties concerned chose to enter into them.
Against the baseline scenario, the Commission will consider different policy options that may be implemented through a Council Regulation or a Commission Communication. The Commission has identified four policy options concerning the scope of the initiative. As mentioned above, according to Eurofound, one in four self- employed, can be seen as facing more precarious situations, with lower levels of income and job security. One way
6 For this competition law initiative, collective bargaining refers broadly to collective negotiations and/or agreements aiming at improving working conditions and not to its narrower sense under labour law.
7 See e.g. Independent Workers and Industrial relations in Europe (2018); Collective Bargaining in Times of Platform Work (2020).
to identify these self-employed in need of protection, could therefore be to focus on those self-employed who have no employees and who rely on their own labour, as they can be expected to be in a weak position on the labour market. Therefore, re-sellers of goods would not be covered.
· · Option 1: all solo self-employed providing their own labour through digital labour platforms. Under option 1, only individuals providing their own labour through platforms would have access to collective bargaining. It has been shown that some people working through platforms face significant challenges in terms of earnings and working conditions. Evidence indicates that “most platform workers have little bargaining power” and challenges in terms of working conditions seem to exist both in online and on- location platform work,8 especially in the case of low-skilled, repetitive, easily replaceable tasks. Therefore, this option would cover all people working through platforms, doing online and/or on-location work through platforms.
· · Option 2: all solo self-employed providing their own labour through digital labour platforms or to professional customers of a certain minimum size. This option is broader than option 1, because in addition to platform work it would also include traditional professions in the off-line economy, as long as they are not covered by other specific competition law provisions included in sectoral instruments.9 As mentioned in Section A above, a growing number of individuals are economically active through individual commercial service contracts (e.g. independent contractors, freelance workers), and in the last decades there has been a sharp increase of freelancers in intellectual and technical occupations in the service sector. This option includes a minimum size threshold for the counterparty with whom the self-employed may bargain collectively. The minimum size threshold would aim to prevent that the balance of negotiation power tilts against that counterparty. For the purposes of determining the minimum size of the counterparty, the use of the definition/thresholds of the SMEs could be considered.
· · Option 3: All solo self-employed providing their own labour through digital platforms or to professional customers of any size with the exception of regulated (and liberal) professions. Under this option, self-employed exercising regulated/liberal professions would not be covered by the initiative. These professionals are often perceived as not being in a position of weakness. An issue to consider under this option would be the absence of a generally applicable EU definition of regulated/liberal professions.
· · Option 4: All solo self-employed providing their own labour through digital labour platforms or to professional customers of any size. Under this option, which is the widest in scope, there would be no restriction as regards the size of the counterpart in the collective bargaining/agreement. Those counterparts would be allowed to bargain collectively too, for example across a certain sector, mirroring traditional collective bargaining. This may ensure that also small businesses could gain enough countervailing bargaining power against solo self-employed negotiating jointly. Under this option it could be further analysed whether public or semi-public professional associations that unite all professionals exercising regulated professions should be allowed to negotiate on behalf of their members. In any event, as in all options, unilateral price setting agreements are excluded.