EZA MAGAZINE

50+ Workers – Green and digital jobs, robotics and economic trends and new technologies: overcoming challenges for new knowledge and skills through VET and re-training and the role of trade unions

From 16 to 18 May 2018 took place in Limassol, Cyprus, a seminar about “50+ Workers – Green and digital jobs, robotics and economic trends and new technologies: overcoming challenges for new knowledge and skills through VET and re-training and the role of trade unions”, organized by KIKEA-DEOK (Cypriot Institute of Training/Education and Employment (KIKEA) - DEOK), with the support of EZA and of the European Union. The seminar was part of the EZA project coordination about “Working and living in a digitized world”. The seminar was attended by representatives of workers’ organizations from Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Portugal, and Estonia.

The seminar offered an excellent opportunity to trade union leaders, and other workers organizations and stakeholders, to listen to and discuss keynote speeches delivered by experts in digital, robotic and green economy labour market developments, in particular relevant vocational training requirements. Research and statistics on new trends of VET in the new emerging field and jobs also presented and deliberated in the seminar. The trade union participants in the seminar shared presentations and observations of good practices for training on national, regional and EU level.

The seminar enhanced the participants’ abilities to promote and push forward effective social dialogue in the new promising but skills demanding digital, robotic and green technology jobs and employment increase. The participants gained new valuable knowledge and ability in digital and robotic technology and green economy thus they will become more result oriented and effective in the relevant social dialogue; social dialogue achieved through the exchange of new views, ideas, experiences, best practices, even failures in policy implementation on national and or EU level concerning the utilization and exploitation of new opportunities in the digital, robotic and green economy towards jobs creation.

The following topic fields were discussed:

  • Policies and Strategic Planning on behalf of the Government
  • European Pillar of Social Rights
  • Green jobs on the labour market- The EU point of view
  • Countries national reports on green labour market, digitalization and new technologies and the challenges for 50+ workers
  • 50+ workers: Challenges for new knowledge and skills via VET and re-training
  • Gender, Labour Market and New Technologies
  • Education in the green economy and technology and social exclusion
  • 50+ workers: Legislation and current situation in Cyprus on health and safety

Results

Businesses, individuals and consumers must acquire new skills in order to become competitive and maintain their jobs. Robotics and artificial intelligence will greatly affect our lives as new jobs, which do not exist today, will be created. Also, changes in wages create new conditions and social dialogue should therefore revolve around these issues.

Over the next two decades, 40% of jobs will be lost and replaced by robotics. Training systems must adapt so as to facilitate education for quality jobs. This adaptation must take place within the workplace itself through lifelong learning.

The main skills required to develop a proper business activity are technical and practical skills, followed by client management, teamwork and problem solving skills, information technology skills – general and professional, administrative and communication skills (written or oral), etc.

In order to make the labour market more productive, states must provide social policies that will help their workforce to acquire skills adapted to the new working environment while also promoting equal opportunities.

Securing access to quality and inclusive education, skills upgrading and re-training, improving investments in national educational systems and competences are all factors of critical importance for active citizenship and for facilitating the transition to the new labour market environment. There is an imperative need to increase employment and productivity rates.

The participation of social partners in the design and implementation of labour market policies varies significantly among member states. In the framework of greater decentralisation, the coordination of collective bargaining and representation structures of employees is important.

Social protection systems must provide better protection against social exclusion and poverty. Investments in the working age population, including the provision of childcare, are necessary in order to achieve inclusive employment and sustainable public finances.

The employment guidelines were amended to incorporate the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The new guideline provides for greater emphasis on quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning, the active integration of people with disabilities, the right to equal pay for equal work, the right to early education and care and flexible working arrangements. The title of this guideline has been amended to incorporate the concept of access to employment, according to the Pillar.

Globalisation leads to an expansion of the markets, i.e. an increase in demand, especially on the part of female consumers. A large part of the market is obviously covered by female workforce. The changes in the labour market have brought about the dismantlement of the traditional industrial relations model, which used to enjoy great stability in working relations, full employment, clear allocation of work and description of duties, trade union coverage and social insurance. The new forms of employment are characterised by instability and insecurity in relation to the above.

The new forms of employment affect in particular women in terms of employment and their families, new technologies, working from home, teleworking, part time employment, social insurance and protection and trade unionism. The demands of the labour market are still shaped based on the “ideal employee” with traditionally “male” characteristics. These demands obviously do not meet the requirements for covering the constant needs of families for care, supervision, food, healthcare, etc.

The green economy ensures prosperity and social justice, while significantly reducing risks in the environment and mitigating environmental weaknesses.

An impartial and fair green economy must attempt to change the social contexts, businesses and the power relations that form the basis of poverty, inequality and other disadvantages.

Achieving a green economy requires not only innovative solutions, but also the knowledge and wisdom of local populations, supported by scientific understanding and technological foundations.