Quel droit du travail dans une société post-salariale ?
Which Labour Law in a Freelance Society?
By Denis Pennel
Heterogeneity of active workers, individualization of the employment relationship, multi-activity, fragmentation of production processes, digitization of work… We are living through a work revolution rather than a work crisis. The nature of work is changing, as is its legal and contractual basis.
Wage labour is undergoing a profound change, questioning the unity of time, place and action of the employed, and making the subordination relationship more and more obsolete. In fact, only a small proportion of permanent workers are still working on the model of the Fordist factory day. In Europe, nearly 25% of active workers are already nomads. They are employed or self-employed workers who use ICT in their work and do not mainly work in the premises of their employer. A stable organization of a group of workers is superseded by a new model: the coordination of mobile and dispersed workers responding to the emergence of exploded or extended enterprise (recourse to subcontracting).
Considering wage labour as the ultimate culmination of the evolution of labour law is a historical nonsense. Labour law has always reflected the social and economic changes in society and their impact on the employment relationship.
BASIC WORKERS’ RIGHTS
At a time when not only of the increase in employment contracts, but also of a growing hybridization between wage labour and self-employment, it is necessary to build a foundation of basic rights that would apply to all workers, regardless of their professional status, called Basic Workers’ Rights.
These 15 fundamental principles respect supranational texts (non-discrimination, freedom of association…), and also include a right to disconnect from work, a basic income to ensure a minimum safety net for everyone, an annual working time (up to the 270 day limit)…
GLOBAL BASIC CONTRACT
A Global Basic Contract will replace the Labour Code and define a general framework for the conditions of work of the person at work, whether employed or self-employed.
It would be preferable today to gauge the employment relationship from the point of view of the person who bears the economic risks. Rather than subordination, that is the relevant criterion for measuring the degree of dependence on the principal. Given this principle, it is clear for example that Uber drivers cannot be considered as employees.
The Global Basic Contract will provide further details on the implementation of 15 articles of the Basic Workers’ Rights and detail the practical arrangements and conditions of employment and work (particularly in terms of contract, time and work space but also in terms of pay, vocational training, labour disputes and breach of contract).