Germany - How to deal with self-employed workers? - May 31, 2016

The numbers of so-called ‘solo’ freelancers, over 2.3 million self-employed workers, are increasing rapidly, but not their income. In 2014, the average net income of ‘solo’ self-employed was only 1,500 euro per month. Some earn much less. Unlike for all other employees since 2015, the minimum wage is not compulsory for freelancers. As a result, hourly rates of pay lower than the minimum wage of 8.50 euros are common. The service workers’ union, Ver.di, is of the opinion that self-employed workers must be paid fairly, and have genuine social insurance. Industry trade union IG Metall is proposing to include minimum working conditions and fees for independent workers in collective agreements. The problem is that the law does not allow self-employed workers to negotiate their pay collectively. Ver.di has opted for other means of defending its members by putting pressure on the town councils to provide training and education, where the local authorities use a lot of self-employed workers.

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For more information, please contact the editor Jan Cremers, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) or the communications officer at the ETUI, Willy De Backer For previous issues of the Collective bargaining newsletter please visit Since June 2013 readers can consult our archive and search through all articles in our database at www.cbnarchive.euYou may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at

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