ETUI Conference on Labour Rights & the Digital Transition
Conference on the impact of digitisation on society and the world of work.
The impact of digitisation on society and the world of work is incremental and will only become more pervasive. It manifests itself in different ways and forms. The introduction of AI at the workplace comes with benefits for the work organization, production and the assessment of work performances. On the other hand, it poses new problems: surveillance, health and safety implications and, at least formally, consents a wider organizational autonomy to the workers, paving the way for (employer friendly) stances in favour of ‘lighter’ employment protection. At the same time, there is the emergence of new business models, such as platform work and the gig-economy. We are also seeing the expansion of digital marketplaces and service providers such as Amazon, which through their extraordinary market power are changing professional sectors and labour relations.
Against this transformational effect, how to ensure that the digital transition does not occur at the expense of workers?
This conference proposes a multidimensional reflection on the role of labour law, and seeks to identify initiatives that have been taken, or could be taken:
- EU policymaking: The Von der Leyen Commission made clear that it intends to ensure that the digital transition must be fair and just. Policymakers and experts will discuss the initiatives proposed by the European Commission and will assess their possible impact on the world of work.
- The normative aspect: The transformative impact of technology calls for theoretical reflection to guide the adaptation of labour law so that it does not lose its protective and emancipatory function with respect to workers' prerogatives. The panellists will illustrate possible proposals and trajectories to ensure the relevance of labour law.
- Case law: A trend in favour of ‘digital’ workers is emerging from the European courts, especially in the area of the platform economy. Legal practitioners and expert observers will help to understand what lessons can emerge for policymakers from the recent jurisprudence.
- Collective bargaining and trade unions: Digitisation has accelerated changes in the distribution of bargaining power, leading to the emergence of companies with very strong market power as well as the creation of jobs that companies consider in the sphere of ‘autonomous’ or ‘independent’ work. Representatives from the trade union world and experts in the field will explain challenges and opportunities for collective bargaining.
This event will be organised in a hybrid format. To register and to download the draft agenda, please click here.
Interpretation will be available in English, French, Italian and German.