Short summary of the COGENS action

This Project follows the path of previous research by the INLACRIS team. Since its first works in 2010, the approach has changed to a great extent. The traditional structures of collective bargaining have been decisively affected by the crisis, as well as important features of the labour market. The current scenario can be described as a never-before perceived evasion of labour law, where traditional structures are eroding.

The challenges labour law is facing right now due to the gig-economy, digitalization and the erosion of the employment contract promise to be severe and long-lasting. The main proposal of this project is a deeper look into collective bargaining as possible instrument to tackle the problems arising from the changes in the standard employment relationship. 

In 2014, President Juncker declared in his Political Guidelines: “The social market economy can only work if there is social dialogue. Social dialogue suffered during the crisis years. Now it must be resumed at national and especially at European level”. Accordingly, the European Pillar of Social Rights, in its Paragraph 8 refers to social dialogue as one of the main elements of Social Europe, emphasizing the importance of collective agreements. This reference to social dialogue seems to be fruitful and promising at the same time because in most of the European countries, non-standard employment relationships are not covered by labour legislation.

Collective agreements, though, could quite easily provide a means for including persons working in the gigeconomy- context and thus granting minimum protection, as reflected by the ILO-report on non-standard employment. Contrary to recent developments and the decline in collective bargaining, the challenges of the gig-economy-labour market could therefore lead to a renaissance of collective bargaining as a central regulatory instrument in labour law.

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