The Challenges of Self-Employment in Europe
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The Challenges of Self-Employment in Europe

Status, Social Protection and Collective Representation

Edited by Renata Semenza and François Pichault

This book aims at explaining the variance in legal status, working conditions, social protection and collective representation of self-employed professionals across Europe. Despite considerable diversity, the authors observe three strategic models of mobilisation: the provision of services; advocacy, lobbying and the political role; and the extension of collective bargaining. They highlight the new urgent challenges that have emerged including the implementation of universal social protection schemes, active labour market policies likely to support sustainable self-employment, and the renewal of social dialogue through bottom-up organisations to extend the collective representation of project-based professionals.
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Chapter 6: Continuity and discontinuity in collective representation

Anna Mori and Bas Koene


Chapter 6 focuses on the new forms of collective representation and organization by which self-employed professionals articulate and defend their interests. This is a specific topic in the broader debate on non-standard and precarious work. The deep analysis of innovative forms of collective interest representation, based on twenty-nine collective organizations investigated across Europe, provides a picture of the proliferation of new actors, bottom-up organizations, besides (or beyond) traditional unions, aimed at collectively representing this growing unorganized segment of the labour market. Three main organizational strategies have been identified: provision of services, as neo-mutual organizations; advocacy, lobbying and political roles; and coalition-building and new alliances in order to reinforce their legitimacy. A combination of strategies and the different capacity to create partnerships and coalitions characterize each national context or cluster of countries. These organizations have gradually become institutionalized, developing into relevant interlocutors in the public debate and in policymaking.

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