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Regulating the New Self-Employed in the Uber Economy: What Role for EU Competition Law?

Victoria Daskalova, German Law Journal, Forthcoming 2018

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This paper discusses the role that EU competition law can play in regulating the ‘new self-employed’ – precarious workers formally considered to be micro-enterprises. Specific attention is paid to the newest type of ‘new self-employed’, namely those engaged via matchmaking platforms arranging for work to be contracted ‘on-demand’. Despite their unequal bargaining position, self-employed are barred from bargaining collectively due to the (EU) competition rules. The paper argues that the problem will not be solved by modifying the respective tests for ‘worker’ and ‘undertaking’ in EU law or by introducing exceptions under Article 101 TFEU. Then it adopts a regulatory approach to canvass the different legal instruments available to address exploitation concerns in the context of the Uber economy and discusses the role that EU competition law can play in such a regime.

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