The Don’t GIG up! project – co-funded by the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission and coordinated by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini – aims to ‘improve expertise and knowledge on the role unions and social dialogue can play with regards to protection of gig workers’.

In particular, the Don’t Gig Up! project will address the following objectives:

  • To identify policy options ensuring social protection of gig workers, in terms of insurance against accidents at work, illness, pensions, unemployment risk and coverage of other social benefits;
  • To identify policy options to guarantee the adequate enjoyment of labour rights by gig workers, including clauses and provisions possibly set by collective agreements;
  • To support unions to put in place effective strategies to organise and represent gig workers;
  • To identify pathways for exploiting the potential positive effects of gig economy and platform-based work, like the potential to bring back ‘gigs’ traditionally performed in the undeclared economy within the reach of employment and fiscal rules.  

Running for 24 months (February 2018 – January 2020), the core phases of the project combine studies and action research to analyse features and challenges of the gig economy in a set of selected countries, namely: Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Sweden.

After a preliminary analysis on the selected dimensions of the gig economy in the covered countries, mainly based on desk review, the project screens and compares as case studies a set of practices initiated by public institutions, social partners, or gig workers themselves to organise gig workers and increase their employment and social security rights. Findings from the preliminary analysis and from case studies shall be discussed in three mutual learning workshops, involving partners, unions from different countries, and representatives of platforms. The research is complemented with a final comparative assessment on how gig-economy affects industrial relations at both national and European level, with a view to delivering policy recommendations. A work package on dissemination also entails the promotion of findings through publications, seminars, articles, and a final conference. 


The action brings together a trans-european network of research centres and trade unions: Italy (UIL), France (Ires, FO), Germany (Ver.di), Poland (IPA and Solidarnosc) and Spain (UGT) also involving the Swedish Unionen union and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in activities of comparison and mutual learning. 

A brief presentation of each partner and associate organisation follows. 

Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini (FGB) was founded in 1971 as a research centre committed to carrying over the political and cultural heritage of former Minister of Labour Giacomo Brodolini, who promoted the approval of the Italian Workers’ Charter. Over its 40 years of existence, FGB developed sound experience in research activities, as well as in policy evaluation and project management in the field of labour, industrial relations, and social policies at regional, national, and EU level. In order to support policy making decisions, policy evaluation, and forecasts, FGB has developed econometrical models adopted at national and EU level. Furthermore, FGB has taken part in several EU-funded programmes and projects in the field of social inclusion, analysing the role of vulnerable groups (young workers, elderly people, women, migrants, etc.) in the general framework of social, economic, and demographic developments, with a focus on social exclusion, employment, and gender.

The French Institute for Social and Economic Research (IRES) is the independent research centre of the six French labour unions (CFDT, CFTC, CGT, CFE-CGC, FO, UNSA Education). Created in 1982 with government’s financial support, IRES is registered as a private non-profit organisation under the Associations Act of 1901. IRES mission statement sets the goal of analysing the economic and social issues, at national, European or international levels, of special interest to labour unions. IRES financially supports the research efforts of each constituent labour union taken separately. Ires also operates as an independent research centre.

The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a leading Polish think tank and independent centre for policy research and analysis, established in 1995. IPA’s mission is to contribute to informed public debate on key Polish, European, and global policy issues. The main areas of study include European policy, social policy, social dialogue and industrial relations, civil society, migration, and development policy, as well as law and democratic institutions

Confédération générale du travail – Force Ouvrière (FO) was created in 1948, after a split of the Confédération générale du travail (CGT). FO is a trade union organisation, independent from political parties, aiming to represent and defend all workers (both public and private-sector ones) in France, regardless of their political or religious beliefs. FO fights for public services, social welfare, social justice, solidarity, and equal rights. The main tool is collective bargaining with a view to building and improving collective rights at all levels (national, sector, and firm).

Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (Ver.di) was established in 2001 as a result of the merge of five unions active in the service sector and is currently Germany’s second largest trade union. Ver.di. is democratically structured, it represents and advocates for the economic, ecological, social, working and cultural interests of its members. The union promotes basic workplace rights, co-determination, and equality. It supports and advises youth representatives, works councillors, and staff council members with the aim of ensuring effective representation of employees’ interests and of providing support to all members.

Unione Italiana del Lavoro (UIL) is the democratic and unitary union confederation of workers and retired people of any belief, creed, political affiliation, or ethnicity, who work together in order to defend their rights and common professional, economic, social, and moral interests, in compliance with the principles of democracy and freedom enshrined in both the Italian Constitution and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. With over 2,000,000 members, UIL is the third largest trade union confederation in Italy.

Unión General de Trabajadores de España (UGT) is a trade union confederation founded in 1888. One of the two Spanish largest trade unions, UGT is composed of three state federations grouping together workers in the different economic sectors. UGT aims to represent workers for the purposes of increasing moral, economic, and intellectual welfare. It defends the interests of workers by combining action and negotiation, and by always searching for consensus agreements.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) was set up in 1973, and now comprises 90 national trade union confederations in 38 countries, plus 10 European trade union federations. ETUC coordinates and represents the union movement at EU level, also by taking part in a number of consultative bodies and in the European social dialogue. ETUC aims to ensure that the EU is not just a single market for goods and services, but also a social Europe, where improving the wellbeing of workers and their families is an equally important priority.

Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy Solidarność (NSZZ Solidarność) was founded as a result of workers’ protests and established on the basis of the Gdansk Agreement signed on 31 August 1980. NSZZ Solidarność represents 722,000 workers, with members in every industry and services. Membership includes, among others, managers, administrators, and professional staff, as well as scientists and technicians, skilled workers and labourers, and pensioners. The union’s goal is to defend the rights, dignity, and interests of its members.

Unionen is Sweden’s largest trade union in the private sector, and the largest white-collar trade union in the world. It has 660,000 members, of whom 30,000 are elected representatives, in over 65,000 companies and organisations. Unionen’s members come from a variety of organisations, including major international groups and small family companies. It aims to promote security, success, and satisfaction in working life.

This web-site was produced for the Don’t GIG Up! project, which received funding under the call for proposals VP/2017/004 of the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. The opinions hereby expressed reflect only the authors’ view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that can be made of the information contained therein.