24 January 2022



France France
Geographical scope
  • Type

    Awareness raising, campaigns, information provision

  • Type

    Industrial action

  • Type

    Organising and representing workers

  • Type

    Advice and exchange

View Initiative


Established in 2020, UNION is the first social demand platform for self-employed workers in France. It aims to connect self-employed workers who work independently (without having employees) or who have the dual status of employee (or retiree) and self-employed. UNION's ambition is to create a community of self-employed workers to defend their rights, demand new rights and support each other. The organisation perceives this as a necessity with regard to an economic, legislative and social environment that is undergoing profound changes. UNION is an independent association whose founding member is the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), one of the five major trade unions in France. UNION and CFDT are present in all branches of activity and in all regions. A further partner is the insurance provider Mutuelle Générale, which puts its expertise of health insurance and social economy at the service of the self-employed workers and UNION Services. 

UNION’s main aims are as follows: 

  • Coordinating and stimulating the necessary industrial actions to defend the interests of its members to enable them to exercise their profession under conditions which respect the labour code, the current or future commercial code or through membership of charters of good conduct between the members of the association and the principals.
  • Improving the professional practice conditions for its members by advancing the rights that concern them.
  • Develop relations and actions between unions, collectives, associations covering identical activities in the countries of the European Community and in the world.
  • Representing its members and defending the interests of the UNION association in front of public authorities, official bodies in France and Europe, Professional Branches and with clients or their representatives (professional associations, large private and public companies, etc.).
  • Making the best efforts to pool or negotiate the means to meet the various needs identified by the members
  • Offering its members services negotiated with third parties.

It explicitly addresses the 2.5 million self-employed workers in France who do not employ any employee. 2.3 million of them operate under the status of micro-enterprise. 830 000 are qualified self-employed workers who are mainly found in the fields of consulting, communication and web development and which are often intermediated by employment platforms.  

The union’s actions are directed towards the following demands: 

  • The right for all self-employed workers to organize without risk and to defend their rights before all competent bodies and jurisdictions.
  • The right of self-employed workers to choose their representatives within organized and recognized communities; representation must be democratic and elective.
  • The regulation of employment platforms and a balance in the relationship between platforms and self-employed workers in particular in terms of transparency of information, the absence of a relationship of subordination and respect for the health and safety of workers.
  • A reform of the social protection system for self-employed workers.
  • The right to a decent income and fight against insecurity.
  • Access to insurance for loss of activity for all workers.
  • Non-discriminatory access to housing: Currently, self-employed workers must wait until 1 January 2022 to have their 2020 income taken into account, which severely complicates applications for housing assistance and simplified access to housing.
  • Legal payment deadlines to be respected for all self-employed workers and the public listing of offenders.
  • Simplified access for the self-employed to training and its financing.
  • Data transparency.
  • Creation of a social observatory of platforms: UNION is associated with the proposal of the National Digital Council on the establishment of a Social Observatory of platforms and a ‘digiscore’ allowing consumers or principals to choose knowingly the platforms according to their respect for predefined social rules. Likewise, for the respect of environmental rules and for example the Paris Agreement.

Additional metadata

social protection, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue, working conditions
Employee organisation
No specific sector focus


Eurofound (2022), UNION (CFDT) (Initiative), Record number 2256, Platform Economy Database, Dublin,