The I-WIRE project develops around different outputs:


The project starts with a research and desk analysis phase. The issues of new autonomous workers in the advanced tertiary sector in Europe and of their collective representation will be thoroughly investigated. The goal is threefold:

  • to present an overview of background literature on the issue of the new autonomous workers and the different forms of collective representation of this heterogeneous category of workers
  • to build typology by reviewing the wide variety of definitions on this differentiated labour market segment, as well analysing the variety of institutional arrangements and types of employment relations
  • to map the roles of representative organisations, including both traditional Trade Unions and new emerging types, such as Quasi-unions, and Labour Market Intermediaries (LMIs).

Nine country case studies in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK will be prepared in the second stage of the project. By means of document analysis, focus groups, interviews of institutional actors, key stakeholders and in-depth case studies, national reports and a transversal European report will be written:

  • identifying the main social needs of new autonomous workers that need to be tackled in a renewed social dialogue
  • comprehending the new organizations supporting professional transitions of autonomous workers and the way in which they can answer the main social and representation needs
  • exploring the existing co-ordination and co-operation between the traditional Trade unions and the new organizations
  • describing the institutional opportunities and constraints of a renewed social dialogue

A transnational survey on new autonomous workers in the nine countries. The survey will be undertaken through an online questionnaire. The main objectives are to:

  • map new types of autonomous workers across Europe, by using the classification model identified in the desk analysis
  • define the workers’ social needs: requirements according to income, number and typologies of contractors, business development, level of autonomy, activity, regulative models and their effects on payment levels, employment continuity and career patterns, continuous training and human capital upgrading
  • determine means to identify bogus self-employment
  • explore the links between new independent workers, traditional unions and new representation organizations

Elaboration of a catalogue of good practices and policy recommendations based on the results of the different outputs described previously:

  • the “good practices” aim at identifying relevant examples, approaches and experiences in the European Union and Member States, useful to support the working conditions, representation needs and social protection of new autonomous workers
  • national seminars further analyse and discuss the selected good practices with representatives of the relevant stakeholders in order to derive useful policy indications

Elaboration of a final report (e-publication) that summarizes the main research findings and draws policy recommendations.

To conclude, an international seminar will be organised in Brussels presenting and debating the results of the project with the various stakeholders (relevant policy makers, representatives of unions, quasi-unions and labour market intermediaries at national and EU level).