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15 - A Solution in Search of a Problem?

Collective Rights and the Antitrust Labour Exemption in Italy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2022

Sanjukta Paul
Affiliation:
Wayne State University, Detroit
Shae McCrystal
Affiliation:
University of Sydney
Ewan McGaughey
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

This chapter investigates potential conflicts arising in the Italian legal framework between collective labour rights and the application of competition law to the constellation of 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 immunity. Historical evidence suggests that collective agreements covering the kaleidoscopic group of non-standard workers have never been targeted by the Italian competition authority. We situate the examination of labour antitrust exemption in the broader picture of the adequacy of the current mechanisms of “collective self-regulation” for self-employed workers. This chapter illustrates the Constitutional framework and case law developments on whether self-employed workers fall within the personal scope of collective rights. It also argues that several provisions corroborate that the Italian lawmaker often entrusts social partners in regulating specific aspects of the relationship of certain categories of self-employed workers. The chapter also presents a selection of collective agreements for non-standard workers, and then discusses how long-established trade unions have included non-standard workers in their membership through multiple, not necessarily successful, attempts. Finally, it presents practical hurdles that make it difficult to build impactful solidarity amongst non-standard workers.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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