Fit for the new world of work?

Young trade unionists from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland met in Bratislava for one weekend to learn and discuss about digitalization.

FES/ ceytun conference Nr.7. Foto: Tomáš Polešenský

FES/ ceytun conference Nr.7. Foto: Tomáš Polešenský

Young trade unionist from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland met in Bratislava from 30 September to 2 October to learn and discuss about digitalization and new world of work. This was already the seventh meeting of this highly successful network which allows promising active members of trade unions to grow closer together and build mutual trust across borders.

The conference started with an introductory speech by Dr. Werner Eichhorst from the Institute for the Study of Labor (http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/index_html). In his presentation, Dr. Eichhorst pointed out that digitalization is not a new process but that some consequences on social and labor standards and associated regulations are still unpredictable. He presented some new trends, such as shifts in employment in certain sectors and an increasing polarization of the labor market into highly skilled and low skilled workers. Low qualified workers are likely to bear the burden of the adjustment as their jobs are more likely to be subject to automatization, which underlines the importance of education. However, he concluded that one does not need to be afraid of the future world of work but trade unions have to act as a constructive social corrective. 

During a panel discussion with Mr. Branislav Ondruš., State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Jaroslav Holeček from the Slovak Automotive Industry Association, Mr. Radovan Geist from Euractiv (www.euractiv.sk) as well Sylvia Kuba from the Arbeiterkammer in Vienna (https://wien.arbeiterkammer.at/index.html), two majors problems became apparent: governments and parliaments are struggling to keep track with new laws and regulations needed and the education system have to be adapted and improved for the future world of work. The lack of social standards for new forms of labor such as crowdworking was also tackled.

On the second day, two subtopics were discussed in working groups: New skills for new jobs and how to develop the trade unions for the new world of work. The workshops were moderated by Tom Vrijens, President of the ETUC Youth (https://www.etuc.org/issue/youth-committee) and Åsa Odin Ekman from the Swedish Federation of Profesional Employees (www.tco.se) respectively, who used interactice methods to trigger thoughts and discussions among the participants.

In the afternoon, the network visited the plant of Volkswagen Slovakia in Bratislava to see how digitalization is used in the car production process. Participants could witness how automatization and robots are executing tasks formerly performed by workers.

As a result of the conference, CEYTUN drafted a resolution expressing their thoughts about digitalization.

CEYTUN was created in 2012 with the objective to promote the exchange between young trade unions members in Central Europe and to address common challenges.

More on: https://www.facebook.com/ceytun/

Video from CEYTUN Meeting in Bratislava

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