A Solution in Search of a Problem? Collective Rights and the Antitrust Labour Exemption in Italy

Forthcoming, Sanjukta Paul, Shae McCrystal & Ewan McGaughey (Eds.), 'Labor in Competition Law', Cambridge University Press

Bocconi Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3823790

24 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2021 Last revised: 12 Aug 2021

See all articles by Antonio Aloisi

Antonio Aloisi

IE Law School, IE University

Elena Gramano

Bocconi Legal Department; Bocconi University School of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2021

Abstract

This chapter examines the Italian legal framework regulating the collective rights of self-employed workers. It seeks to investigate potential conflicts (if any) arising between collective labour rights and the application of competition law and free-market policies to self-employed workers and the fragmented constellation of differentiated personal labour relations that escape binary taxonomies. Its overarching goal is to understand whether and to what extent concerted wage-fixing practices are granted a special (express or implied) immunity at the domestic level. Besides offering concrete examples, we will situate the examination of labour antitrust exemption in the broader picture of the adequacy of the current mechanisms of “collective self-regulation” for “solo”, own account, small-scale, or dependent self-employed workers. However, historical evidence suggests that collective agreements covering the kaleidoscopic and dynamic group of non-standard workers have never been targeted by the Italian competition authority. In Italy self-employed organising is foreseen by the Constitution, long-standing, embedded in collective agreements, and widely acknowledged by the law. Indeed, workers’ initiatives can be seen as a vehicle of social, economic and political transformation.

This chapter is organised as follows. Part 2 presents a general introduction of the regulation of collective rights in the Italian Constitution. Part 3 illustrates case law development, especially at the Constitutional Court level, on whether self-employed workers fall within the personal scope of collective rights. It also argues that several provisions corroborate that the lawmaker often entrusts social partners in regulating specific and meaningful aspects of the working relationship of certain categories of self-employed workers, thus proving that there is no inconsistency between antitrust law and collective regulation of contractual terms. Two arguments run intertwined in part 4. On the one hand, we intend to present a selection of collective agreements for non-standard workers, never called into question by competition authorities, and on the other, we discuss how long-established trade unions have attempted to include non-standard workers in their membership through multiple, not necessarily successful, attempts. This section also presents a selection of practical hurdles that make it difficult to build solidarity amongst non-standard workers and negotiate collectively. Section 5 concludes.

Keywords: Collective rights, competition law, antitrust, labour exemption, Italy, national collective bargaining agreement

JEL Classification: K31

Suggested Citation

Aloisi, Antonio and Gramano, Elena, A Solution in Search of a Problem? Collective Rights and the Antitrust Labour Exemption in Italy (April 1, 2021). Forthcoming, Sanjukta Paul, Shae McCrystal & Ewan McGaughey (Eds.), 'Labor in Competition Law', Cambridge University Press, Bocconi Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3823790, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3823790

Antonio Aloisi (Contact Author)

IE Law School, IE University ( email )

P.º de la Castellana, 259
Office 11.10
Madrid, 28046
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://www.ie.edu/law-school/faculty-research/faculty/antonio-aloisi/

Elena Gramano

Bocconi Legal Department ( email )

Via Roentgen, 1
Milan, Milano 20136
Italy

Bocconi University School of Law ( email )

Italy

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