The Tension between Collective Action of Gig Workers and Competition Law: Can Constitutional Law Offer a Way out?

The rise of sharing economy platforms has provided new opportunities to individuals to sell their labour in a flexible way over these platforms. At the same time, there are increasing concerns that gig work fosters the growth of underpaid or even precarious work. Most gig workers are self-employed and receive little or no protection under labour law. One solution to this problem would be for workers to organize collectively in order to bargain about their working conditions with the platforms. After all, the right to collective action for workers is a fundamental right. At the same time, however, self-employed qualify as undertakings for the purposes of competition law. Agreements between self-employed on the prices they charge (i.e. wages in the case of gig workers) are hard-core restrictions of competition (cartels). The fundamental right to collective action and competition law are thus in tension.