European Union Initiatives for Freelancers and the Self-Employed
From the report, Not Alone:
Links via 
- FNV Zelfstandigen Bondgenoten : Netherlands
FNV the Dutch trade union federation encouraged all its members to accept self-employed members in 1999 and also set up that year FNV Zelfstandigen Bondgenoten which has become the largest specialist trade union for the self-employed. The services it provides for self-employed workers are extensive including advice, legal guidance on contracts, insurance, a training academy and help with debt collection.
- Zelfstandigen Bouw : Netherlands
Zelfstandigen Bouw is the second largest Dutch trade union for the self-employed, and specialises in the construction industry. The debate that informed this strategy was a recognition that this could stem a loss of members and also recruit former members who had become self-employed following redundancy. FNV indeed reports that those trade unions focusing on the recruitment of self-employed workers are growing faster than traditional trade unions who have not been proactive
- Christian Trade Union Federation, CNV, : Netherlands
The Christian Trade Union Federation, CNV, in the Netherlands began organising self-employed workers in 2007 with a focus on former members who had become self-employed. FNV and the Alternative Trade Union have developed a pension scheme for self-employed workers. Most of the services for the self-employed provided by Dutch trade unions mirror those of other union members. However the Dutch Competition Authority has ruled against the forging of collective agreements for the self-employed that are binding on those who contract them. It has regarded these agreements as operating a cartel. This has created a conflict between labour rights for the self-employed and competition law, and is a growing concern for organisers in other countries. Similar decisions have been made in Ireland and in Australia.
- SIF, the Swedish technical and clerical union : Sweden
SIF, the Swedish technical and clerical union began recruiting self-employed workers actively in 1998 and has used modern marketing and call centre methods for recruiting targeted groups with a 5%-8% conversion rates on cold calls. - In 2008, it merged with HTF to form Unionen
- Mediafon : Germany
The advancing digital economy has been a driver for campaigns to recruit freelance workers in many countries. The largest German union, ver.di set up Mediafon in 2000 as a call centre to recruit workers in the media industry including freelancers. It offers a comprehensive range of advice on contracts, fees, social security and legal issues.
- clerical union HK : Denmark
In Denmark, the clerical union HK has set up a similar recruitment service for freelancers and especially those working online as graphic artists and designers, translators, media jobs and publishing. In addition to legal, insurance and other services, this ‘digital union’ platform enables workers to advertise their services. Other Danish trade unions recruit self-employed workers and especially in IT, media and cultural industries where they negotiate collective agreements with major arts, entertainment and business organisations.
- Unión de Profesionales y Trabajadores Autónomos (UPTA) : Spain
Unión de Profesionales y Trabajadores Autónomos (UPTA) is a trade union with over 100,000 autonomous worker members in Spain. In Italy, self-employed workers account for one in four jobs and the main trade union federations have developed a range of policies and services to support and advocate for atypical workers. A number of union services for the self-employed operate in different trade sectors to develop and to renegotiate collective bargaining agreements with employer bodies.
- Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) : United Kingdom
The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) covers a broad range of separate trade unions including the National Union of Journalists, BECTU, Equity, the Writers Guild and the Musicians Union. They each have large numbers of self-employed freelancers and in most cases the proportion of their members in this situation has been increasing at a steady rate. Thus FEU members share common concerns and have co-developed thinking and areas of strategy for meeting better the needs of freelancers.
- Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Technicians Union (BECTU) : United Kingdom
BECTU was formed in 1992 out of a merger of three trade unions in the film, TV and theatre sector and today covering script writers, producers, directors and technicians in film, cinemas and in the performing arts. BECTU has 25,000 members about half of whom work freelance. This proportion has increased from about one third of freelance members a decade ago. Freelance workers in BECTU are especially strong in numbers in the film production sector, both in London and in other parts of the UK including the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many members are covered by collective bargaining agreements. These agreements are with the BBC, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre.
- The Musicians Union :
The Musicians Union has 30,000 members, only 10 per cent of whom are fully employed. Many are employed part time, others are freelance and some do a mixture of part time and freelance work. The union provides a full range of insurance services including fee recovery for gigs when not paid. Members also have access to specialist legal advice from two in-house lawyers on contract, copyright and other matters. A range of free training courses are offered to members as well as workshops and networking events. The union additionally provides specialist career and business advice. Membership is £201 yearly for full members and £20 for students.
- Equity : United Kingdom
Equity was set up in 1930 largely by women actors in London who were being bullied and treated badly. Today it has 41,000 members and has grown steadily over the past ten years. Apart from stage managers, the overwhelming number of members are freelancers. Around 1% of its members are on full-time PAYE employment, with the rest operating mostly as self-employed (or through one person service companies) or on occasional, short-term employment contracts.
- National Union of Journalists (NUJ) : United Kingdom
Founded in 1907, the NUJ is one of the biggest journalists' unions in the world.The NUJ have also published a freelancers’ charter to outline the issues that they are trying to address."