Work 4.0 hits hardest where social partners are weakest

By the EESC Workers' Group

A study by the EESC's Workers' Group of national strategies on Work 4.0 shows that the involvement of the social partners is essential and that workers are worst hit where collective bargaining has declined.

The pace of digital transformation and the challenges arising as regards the regulation and the quality of employment call for comprehensive policy responses. According to OECD estimates, 14% of jobs are at high risk of automation and 31% will undergo significant change in the next 15-20 years.

The study's findings point to a strong demand for higher-skilled workers and to an erosion of middle-skilled, middle-income jobs in the future – in other words, more inequalities.

The study refers to ILO findings on the platform economy whereby gaps or grey areas in the law that have provided fertile ground for the development of non-standard, low-quality working conditions resulted from the decline of collective bargaining in certain countries.

Entitled Overview of the national strategies on work 4.0 - a coherent analysis of the role of the social partners, the study calls for:

  • a strengthening of social dialogue through the direct involvement of social partners in the shaping of a just digital transition process to ensure quality jobs and decent wages;
  • universal social protection schemes;
  • updated occupational health and safety standards for new technologies;
  • the anticipation of job creation and
  • the designing of training programmes.

It will be officially presented and discussed on 18 October 2018 at a Workers' Group event. (prp)