European Labour Law Conference – New forms of labour and new structures of enterprises – challenges for labour law

(save the date – register now)

15 and 16 February 2019

Frankfurt/M., IG Metall Headquarter, Wilhelm-Leuschner-Str- 79

  • Friday, 15 February 2019, 13h30 – 18h30 and
  • Saturday, 16 February 2019, 09h00 – 13h00

– simultaneous translation: German-English-German –

Following conferences in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Florence in recent years, the European Lawyers for Workers network is inviting you to a conference in Frankfurt/M on 15 and 16 February 2019. We were able to win the support of IG Metall, the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labour Law, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and the German Association of Democratic Lawyers (VDJ)- Labour Law Commission. Once again, highly topical issues will be the subject of discussion. It is about the increasing undermining of traditional individual and collective labour law by new forms of work (keywords: platform economy (e.g. Uber), crowd-working, subcontractors, freelancers) and new corporate structures in the EU-wide and international framework (keywords: matrix, letterbox companies, industry 4.0).

With reference to the alleged independence of the employees, the employee status as a prerequisite for labour law protection is to be abolished and the collective representation of the interests of the employees by trade unions and works councils is to be undermined. We want to gain a more concrete assessment of the development with speakers from trade unions, labour law studies and the legal profession from numerous EU countries and – also on the basis of already existing examples and relevant case law – discuss labour law and trade union counter-strategies.   


Friday, 15 February 2019, 14h00 to 18h30 (registration starts at 13h30)

Welcome and opening:

  • ELW-Network, ELDH
  • IG Metall: Boris Karthaus, lawyer, IG Metall headquarters, legal department, Frankfurt/M.

1.           Reconstruction of working time: Cristina Inversi, lecturer Manchester University

2.           Occupational Health and Safety: Aude Cefaliello, PhD Candidate at University of Glasgow

Short discussion after each speech

Moderator: Thomas Schmidt, lawyer, ELDH Secretary General, ELW-Network, Düsseldorf

Break: 15 minutes

3.           Collective Rights: Prof. Dr. Reingard Zimmer, European and international Labour law, Berlin School of Economics and Law

4.           Employee status: Prof. Dr. Francisco Trillo, University of Castilla La Mancha

5.           Artificial corporate entities and the circumvention of labour standards:
Dr Jan Cremers, researcher, Tilburg University

Short discussion after each speech.

Moderator: Silvia Rainone, PhD-candidate, Tilburg University, ELW-Network


Saturday, 16 February 2019, 09h30 – 13h00

New forms of labour and structures of enterprises – challenges for trade union and legal strategies

(Entrance opens at 09h00)

09h30 Key note speech

Christiane Benner, IG Metall Co-President

Panel discussion I (trade union strategies)

  • ETUC: Esther Lynch, Confederal Secretary, ETUC, Brussels
  • France: Emilie Durlach, Legal Department CFDT, Paris
  • Poland: Ewa Podgórska-Rakiel, PhD, Legal Department NSZZ “Solidarnosc”, Gdansk
  • Spain: Prof. Dr. Antonio Garcia-Muñoz, Goethe Universität Frankfurt/M., for CCOO

Moderator: Klaus Lörcher, former ETUC legal advisor, Frankfurt Break: 15 minutes

Short discussion

Panel discussion II (legal strategies)

  • England: Declan Owens, Solicitor, London
  • Netherlands: Bas van Dis, lawyer, Amsterdam
  • Italy: Elena Gramano, PhD, Goethe Universität Frankfurt/M.

Short discussion

Moderator: Dr. Rüdiger Helm, lawyer, Munich and Cape Town, ELW-Network

13h00 Closing remarks


Registration: or
(with your full name, address, and profession)

Fee: 80 € (regular), 60 € (ELW-Network members), others free (IG Metall members, students, unemployed)

bank account: name of the bank: ING Belgium SA, beneficiary ELW, Chaussée de Haecht 55, BE – 1210 – Brussels, Belgium

IBAN BE14 3631 2954 7883, BIC/SWIFT BBRUBEBB



  • ELW-Network

Supported by:

  • European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH)
  • Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labour Law
  • IG Metall
  • Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation
  • Labour Law Commission of the German Democratic Lawyers (VDJ)