Working for a better future

Digitalisation and innovation: opportunities and challenges

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How to make digitalization a success? What should be done in order to make sure digital innovation creates decent jobs and improves working conditions? These are the questions that the Workers’ Group has on the agenda for its meeting in Tallinn on 6 October 2017, which is dedicated to digitalisation and its implications for working people.

The setup could not have been chosen more appropriately, as Estonia is considered to be the EU country most advanced in digitalisation and very open to ICT innovation, keen to put new ideas into practice very rapidly.

After a welcome address by Gabriele Bischoff, President of the Workers’ Group, and a speech by Eiki Nestor, President of the national Parliament, who will present the EU semester of the Estonian Presidency, members will have a closer look at the Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia, which in many circles is considered an excellent example of promoting digital development in economy and society. They will discuss among others whether it could serve as a model for a new EU digital strategy that keeps pace with technological progress. The need for such a strategy to preserve and improve social standards and guarantee decent living and working conditions will be the leitmotiv of this debate. Contributions are expected from Mailis Reps, Minister of Education and Research, Janar Holm, Ministry of Social affairs, Peep Peterson, President of the Estonian Trade Unions Confederation EAKL, and Ago Tuuling, President of the Employees' Unions' Confederation TALO.

During the afternoon session members will discuss the opportunities and challenges digitalisation and innovation present for workers and the labour market. Contributions are expected among others by Anna Byhovskaya, TUAC Policy adviser, Kadri Kaska from the Estonia Information Systems Authority, Luc Triangle, Secretary General of industriAll European Trade Union, and Liina Carr, ETUC Confederal Secretary.

Building a digital society affects every facet of our lives and especially working conditions, wages and social protection systems. In this framework, the debate will focus among others on the need for a just transition to the digital age and for a careful assessment of the impact on the labour market and labour standards, as well as on the economy and the fiscal policy. The ultimate challenge for Europe will be to fully exploit its potential in both directions: fair working conditions and future of work, and investment for a digital strategy.