Joint Fact-Finding Seminar on Digitalisation in
“The huge interest and the fact that the
seminar was oversubscribed shows that we hit the nail on the head. Our members
can feel that the digitalisation is changing their daily lives in companies as well
as in their private and social lives”, with these words, Peter Scherrer, Deputy General Secretary ETUC opened the joint
fact-finding seminar on Digitalisation on the 14.2.2017. The social partners of
ETUC, BusinessEurope, UEAPME and CEEP invited their members to the European seminar
that took place in Berlin. The joint activity was part of the integrated projects
of the European Social Dialogue 2016-2018, on which the social partners agreed
Digitalisation is an
ongoing process in all areas of our daily life. Therefore, it is not a question
of whether our working life will be affected by digitalisation, the question is
how it will be affected. The objects of
the seminar were to get a first overview on the different situations in the
member states, the changes and transformation that might occur concerning jobs
and to gather examples and how digitalisation is dealt with on the company
In Germany the
government and the social partners have developed many different activities and
initiatives to shape the digitalisation (known as “Work 4.0.”). Thorben Albrecht, Secretary of State,
German ministry of labour and social affairs, introduced some thoughts and
activities from the German government to the participants. One such initiative
demanded for by Mr Albrecht was the right for works councils to make sure that
employees have the ability for continuing training/upskilling throughout their
working life. He also made it clear that digitalisation is not a one-way road and
must not lead to a completely free and unchecked labour market and work life.
Health protection, flexibility and flexicurity and the right for
self-determination are important values that must be part of the digitalised
During the seminar research
on digitalisation in the European Union and the member states were presented byProf. Dr. Daniel Buhr (University of
Tübingen) and Dr. Paolo Falco(OECD). Vincent Gimeno (CFDT /
Orange), Markus Tőrnberg (Crossover) and Dr. Nari Kahle(General Works Council of Volkswagen) presented facts and figures on how their
companies, trade unions and works councils are dealing with the changes in the
daily work life arising from digitalisation.
After a panel
discussion with representatives from the national and sectoral level the day
was wrapped up by the representatives from the Social Partners: Liliane Volozinskis for UEAPME, Guillaume Afellat for CEEP, Maxime Cerutti for BusinessEurope and Peter Scherrer for the ETUC.
Peter Scherrer concluded the Seminar saying: “We have to shape the transformation towards
digital jobs in a way that makes sure that employment rights are prioritised
and that the employees aren't the people that suffer from this transformation.
Workers must benefit from digitalisation and it’s our task to ensure this
improvement! I am looking for further concrete steps from us as social
partners. For example, with the ambition to work on a joint agreement on fair digitalisation
as part of the next work program of the European social partners.”
Peter Scherrer welcomes the participants and opens the seminar in Berlin.
Thorben Albrecht, Secretary of State, German ministry of labour
and social affairs, introduced some thoughts and activities from the German
The seminar was oversubscribed and well very well attended.