Getting to grips with digitalisation
Digitalisation has the potential to positively transform public services and the jobs of public service workers. Quicker and easier access to services and increased participation of citizens can be combined with better quality jobs as repetitive work is replaced with more fulfilling tasks. However, trade unions must be involved in the transformation process not just to ensure that workers have their fare share of the benefits of digitalisation but also to deal with the potential downside. This briefing, produced for EPSU's 2019 Congress, highlights some of the work done on this issue in recent years and sets out the current priorities.
Public services union Fórsa has welcomed a new framework agreed between unions and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform allowing civil servants to apply to work “blended” arrangements – combining home/remote work with normal working. Workers whose requests are denied have the right to a review with the aim to resolve the issues that led to the refusal. The framework places a responsibility on managers to ensure a “fair and effective” system with strong supports, staff development, communications, and effective performance management. And it says there can be no change to a worker’s
The European Trade Union Institute organised a conference on 24 March to discuss how collective bargaining can be used to regulate the use of algorithms at the workplace. Along with a number of European experts, there were contributions from national trade union representatives from Poland, Spain, Sweden, Italy, the UK and France. The debates included discussion of the legal frameworks and also how practically collective agreements – even existing clauses – could be used to protect workers’ rights. There were also examples of new and revised agreements that include specific provisions on
The CCOO trade union has expressed its concern and disappointment that the agreement on telework that was negotiated last April may not take full effect until October rather than January as claimed by the public services minister. The union says that the Draft Royal Decree will require about two months for processing and publication and then three months for the administration to determine the criteria for the jobs that can be provided by telework. It estimates a further four more months for implementation in each department. The CCOO raises concerns about the implications for gender equality
The ETUC says that the proposed directive on platform work should deliver rights to platform workers, like paid holiday and sick pay, which have been standard for other workers for the best part of a century. The directive provides the possibility to ensure that platform workers get a secure contract and guaranteed wages rather than the fake self-employment with no protection, no pay between jobs or sick pay. The Directive can also ensure genuinely self-employed people are protected from subordination by platforms. The ETUC is concerned, however, that following heavy lobbying by the major