The challenges of the digitalisation in the services industry: a new area for information, consultation, and participation rights of workers and transnational negotiations

Digitalisation of the economy and society is an important challenge for the European trade union movement. UNI Europa is clearly in favour of using new technologies in a way that serves citizens, workers as well as companies that respect national and European law and regulations. Nevertheless, an adequate protection for workers engaged in digital work is needed to avoid an ‘Uberisation’ of work, and the emergence of a new digital precariat.

UNI Europa wants to make sure that further digitalisation isn’t coupled with wage dumping, mass redundancies, excessively dominant online platforms, precarious working conditions, a rise in atypical employment and the invasion of employee privacy.

One major challenge will consists of ensuring information, consultation and board – level representation as well as minimum wage and obligatory social security.

In this view, the main objective of the two year project is to analyse the impact of digitalisation on the rights of information, consultation and participation of the workers of the services sectors and promote the transnational company agreement on this issue. To this end, UNI Europa has identified 24 multinational companies from several services sectors to give UNI Europa affiliates from those companies the opportunities to exchange experiences and practices and create within UNI Europa a cross sectoral dynamic to address the challenges and opportunities of the digitalisation in the services sector and promote the utmost importance and the necessity for them to raise these issues in the work developed within the EWCs and Trade union alliances.

The key expected results from this project are

  • To encourage work councils and Europeans works councils members as well as workers’ representatives in general and on company boards in particular to take a close look at internal as well as external outsourcing and to ensure that standard working conditions and collectively agreed wages are fully applied. New digital business practices and the introduction of new ICT must be supervised from the very beginning. Longstanding challenges – such as long working hours, stress, digital skills and work- life imbalance – are intensifying and need to be tackled.
  • To actively explore ways to negotiate European Framework Agreements on digitalisation, to ensure that common rules are established and respected throughout the whole company and value chain.
  • To monitor company strategies on digitalisation more closely and to ensure that self-employed people are organised in trade unions and represented in the Information, consultation and partciipation bodies, which is not yet the case everywhere.
  • To anticipate and manage the transition in close cooperation with trade unions, EWCs, workers representatives in general. Good work in industry 4.0 or smart services needs to be based on a new social contract, with strengthened and enlarged information, consultation, participation rights, with democracy at the workplace.
  • To Improve the involvement of CEE affiliates in EWCs and work of Trade union alliances to face together the challenges and opportunities offered by the digitalisation.
  • To raise awareness and better understanding of the future skills needs linked to digitalisation and ensure that the issue is on the agenda of EWCs.