T1-WS2: Workshop: Precarious work. The challenge for labour law in Europe

6 September 2019, 15:00–16:30

Chair: Manfred Weiss

Izabela Florczak, University of Lodz
Marta Otto, University of Lodz

Workshop: Precarious work. The challenge for labour law in Europe


  • Izabela Florczak, University of Lodz
  • Marta Otto, University of Lodz

Precarious work is one of the core concerns in Europe, where the proliferation of new types of employment without the whole spectrum of rights associated with the standard employment relationship has engendered considerable labour market fragmentation and social polarisation. Precarious work, such as in the ‘gig economy’, poses unique challenges to the European social model of secure employment and decent social protection, to which the launch of a European Pillar of Social Rights is a belated but important response.

The workshop is devoted to the presentation of the book Precarious Work. The Challenge for Labour Law in Europe, J. Kenner J, I. Florczak & M. Otto (eds), (Edward Elgar, 2019, forthcoming). The book provides a comparative analysis of the legal and social policy challenges arising from the creation and spread of precarious work in various countries in Europe. It aims to contribute to an improved comparative understanding of one of the main facets of risk to the European social model. It not only elucidates the main characteristics and current dynamics of precarious employment regulation in Europe, but also offers invaluable insight into the potential methods of addressing this phenomenon through improved labour regulation.

The relevant research study positions itself at the intersections of European and national dimensions of labour law. Its findings should be of interest to scholars and the ever-growing number of students researching in European and Comparative Labour Law and the phenomenon of precarity. In addition, by surveying the recent activities of the broadly understood European judicatory as well as legislature, it can prove a valuable resource also for practitioners and policymakers in international and regional organisations, governments, employers’ bodies, trade unions and NGOs.

Precarious work: Towards a new theoretical foundation

Izabela Florczak, University of Lodz
Barbara Godlewska-Bujok, University of Warsaw
Calogero Massimo Cammalleri, University of Palermo

The presentation provides a rudimentary overview of the underlying causes of the development of the precarious work phenomenon in Europe and analyses the policy and judicatory answers to it at EU level as well as discusses the perspectives for and potential trajectories of the development of an adequate institutional framework against precarity at EU level.

Precarious agreements seem to be the next stage of development of employment relations. At the same time, their axiological layer seems to expose their economic violence-based character. Has the culture of violence we live in today affected what we call the employment relation?

The lack of security produced by the precariat can be seen as a degree of participation of flexibility for firms as “social pollution” i.e. as generator of negative externalities. One proposes a full change of paradigm to fight and to tackle the lack of security at precariat level with a solution in terms of internalisation of externalities (i.e. social costs), rather than affecting precarious work either enlarging the area of employment contract or proposing an intermediate way of regulations.

The legal contours of precarious work in Europe – case of Sweden and Slovenia

Annamaria Westregård, Lund University
Valentina Franca, University of Ljubljana

The aim of the presentation is to analyse the consequences of the legal system for different forms of precarious workers, with a focus on employment protection, social security and the work environment and how the legal regulations in labour law and social security law can adapt to the new forms of employment. The impact of the Swedish attempt to improve conditions for precarious workers will be analysed.

In addition, the presentation will analyse i) the challenges precarious work has brought to the Slovenian labour market; ii) the influences it has on the collective employment relations iii) legislative solutions and other measures intended to prevent the abuse of atypical forms of work and iv) possible legal solutions that will provide collective rights to employees in all forms of dependent work.

Digital work in the ‘platform economy’

The last (but not least) stage of precariousness in labour relationships

Matteo Avogaro, University of Milan

The process of Uberisation of work represents a key challenge for labour lawyers, as it jeopardises, together with employment law rules and standards, the very founding idea that labour is not a commodity. The presentation will analyse the labour relationships emerging in the so-called gig economy (or platform economy), as including the two main categories of work-on-demand-via-app and crowd work.

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