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.
At the 14 October NEA committee meeting, about 35 delegates representing central governments in 20 countries reviewed the state of play with the EC-backed negotiations of an EU social partner agreement on digitalisation.
A new report from the Eurofound research agency argues that social dialogue plays a critical role in digitalisation at the workplace. It says that an approach that disregards employee participation and engagement will amplify negative impacts on working conditions while in the context of technological change, social dialogue can encourage greater acceptance by employees of new technologies. Among other findings the report also warns that the Internet of Things raises the greatest concerns when used for employee performance monitoring, requiring greater safeguards to protect workers’
The European Commission has adapted its approach to digitalization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and set out a range of policies, initiatives and targets for what it calls the digital decade up to 2030.
Two reports looking at union members’ views on digitalisation show that the lack of an employee perspective means that digital technology risks exacerbating existing problems at the workplace. An imbalance between the demands of new technology and the level of resources allocated to their introduction contributes to poor health and safety at work and high sick leave. The reports underline that employees need to be involved and also reveal that many union members do not believe that new digital tools meet the high expectations of increased efficiency and a better working environment. The
The public service federations – Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp, Uilpa and Uil Fpl – want to ensure that as the move from obligatory to voluntary remote working takes place, all workers are provided with the appropriate protection so that they can enjoy the potential benefits and flexibility of remote working while helping to improve service delivery. The unions argue that workers should be guaranteed the same pay as those in the workplace, along with normal working hours and the right to disconnect. The federations acknowledge that the situation may vary across the public services and so negotiations may
The European Parliament (EP) has backed proposals to prevent platform companies from forcing workers into false self-employment and denying them rights to minimum wages, holiday and sick pay, and a secure employment contract. In recent years platform companies have lost a string of court cases over false self-employment, with the latest in the Netherlands where judges ruled “the legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract.” The EP report supports a rebuttable presumption of an employment relationship for platform companies and
A new report from the Eurofound research agency has found that teleworkers are twice as likely to exceed the 48-hour working time limit as workers onsite and are significantly more likely to work in their free time. This underlines the importance of securing a right to disconnect and the report looks at the experience of the first four Member States that introduced rules and agreements on the right to disconnect prior to 2021. These have demonstrated the pivotal role of the social partners in ensuring these rules are translated into reality on the ground. The report argues that new agreements
The European Commission has proposed a number of important instruments to shape digitalisation in the European Union. These are the target of the big technological firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook to ensure new regulations do not harm their business model.
EPSU joins coalition - Demanding technology that serves us and ends Big Tech’s destructive business model
EPSU joined Amnesty, Corporate Europe Observatory, European Youth Forum, Transparency International and many other organisations demanding changes to the European Commission’s flagship proposal the Digital Services Act (DSA).
The FeSP-UGT public services federation has signed an agreement with the Fresenius Medical Care company setting out a digital disconnection procedure, which will be applied to all workers in all Fresenius’s centres and clinics in Spain. It recognises the company's commitment to guarantee this right during holidays other days off and daily and weekly rest periods, based on the digital rights legislation of 2018. The union wanted to make sure there was a proper procedure for monitoring application of the agreement and dealing with issues such as emergency situations arising from staff shortages
On 13 July all nine trade union federations in the public service signed a new agreement on telework covering the whole of the public sector. The framework agreement requires employers across the three pillars of the public sector – local authorities, ministries and hospital services – to begin negotiations to implement the agreement at local level by 31 December this year. The agreement covers all the key issues relating to the voluntary nature and reversibility of telework, health and safety, gender equality, data security and privacy and working time and the right to disconnect. The