Digital work – working anytime, anywhere – the impact on workers, their families and society

The Movement of Christian Workers of Europe (EBCA / ECWM / MTCE) met in Birmingham, UK, from 18 to 20 October 2018 with the aim of discussing the influence of digital technologies on humans. In doing so, the dimension of work as well as family life was the focus of attention. The title of the seminar, which was organized with the support of EZA and the European Union, was "Digital work – working anytime, anywhere – the impact on workers, their families and society".

The following findings were obtained:

Digitization has both negative and positive dimensions. The challenge is to shape these developments. It is necessary to ask how employees can deal privately and especially at work with the resulting changes or how it can be comprehensively ensured that human dignity can be safeguarded and protected. The technical developments have to serve the people and not vice versa. Man is holy to us because he is the image of God. This optimistic outlook is overshadowed by serious fears and overarching media oligarchies. At the same time, digitization is sometimes too demanding for people, when the boundaries between work and leisure become blurred, every step and every statement can be monitored, at the family table the whole digital world is always present, the connections and technical processes are not captured and understood. An aspect that is also of particular relevance for the employees, and which, from the point of view of the participants, has been neglected in the discussion, is the ecological side of digitization. In addition to digital transformation processes, one must also devote oneself to ecological transformation. The question of growth must be linked to human dignity and ecology, which ensures the livelihood of all of us.

Christian workers want to actively and confidently address the challenges posed by digitization. To do this, they use a different methodical approach in order to record and bundle the experiences of the working population. Furthermore, they want to strengthen cooperation with the trade unions, politics and other civil society, and to contribute and emphasize Christian values ​​in the conflicts. Due to the complexity of the topic, education seems to be a key to the design of the process. Therefore, the participants will, among other things, deal with the reflection of the COMECE Social Commission on the topic "Shaping the future of work" and enrich it with further experience. To this end, the coordination group accompanying the project will undertake initial work steps at its follow-up meeting. As part of the 100th anniversary of the ILO, a contribution should be made and opportunities for networking used.

The measures outlined here are already the first elements of active shaping in the sense of a decent society in the digitized world, demonstrating that the challenges are being met. The path begun here will be continued during the EBCA seminar in 2019.

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