A seminar on "The digital world of work – Industry 4.0: new opportunities for the young" took place in Strasbourg from 13 to 15 November 2018, organized by ACLI - ENAIP (Associazioni Cristiane Lavoratori Italiani - Ente Nazionale ACLI Istruzione Professionale), with the support of EZA and the European Union. The seminar was part of the EZA project on "Working and living in a digital world".
60 participants from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Brazil (the latter as guests) participated in the event. The great European question that runs through the public opinions of all EU countries is that of work. The redefinition of this concept led to new economic development policies that have been drawn up and which have always been the great wealth within the European model.
In addition to the global distribution of wealth, which has radically changed as a result of globalization and the opening up of trade, the impact of technological change on the European labour market is one of the main causes of this crisis compared to other world powers. This new situation has changed, and in some cases substantially reshaped, the relationship between the employee and the employer and the worker's work processes themselves.
In this seminar we tried to analyze, thanks to the contributions of some social policy experts from various EU countries, how digitization and the 4.0 industry marks a decisive break in the life of workers, what are the opportunities to be seized and the problems that only through a sharing among the European countries can be dealt with positively.
The speed of digitization of the world of work makes these times no longer delayed and in 2017 we have witnessed an interest in public opinion on these issues to which ACLI, in Italy, have contributed a lot.
The main idea was to help build the platform for EZA / Industry 4.0 and try to understand if ACLI can build a political platform in view of the next Europeans. Even workers’ organisations must play their part, especially if they are strongly pro-European like ACLI. The intent was to start a construction workshop.
The efforts to focus on are: job challenge, demographic challenge, environmental challenge. Open new season in the EU to protect workers and citizens. Training and education are architraves of the Social Pillar (Goteborg 2017). Knowing how to learn will be more important than we already know.
All these changes produce a cultural gap both between the different age groups and also in the organizations that deal with work. We need organizations that are much more open, dynamic and flexible. We need to rethink the organization's ways and models, to reach a level standard under which we should not go down. Technological innovation must become social innovation: otherwise we will have reductions and steps backwards. Agenda 2030 UN, as an example. The Social Model must be prior to technology, it is not determined by technology, but we cannot move back on the social model, asking for political responsibility for this choice.
The fourth industrial revolution and the unstoppable speed of the digital economy have profoundly changed modes, places and times of production, putting at the same time both, the systems of development of skills for work - subjected to rapid obsolescence - and professional profiles and their classic definition.
The polarization we already see - between "irreducible" and impervious to innovation jobs and highly specialized jobs - is destined to worsen, and with it the condition of those working in the "without quality" sectors is growing (those, to be clear, in which the bodies enter), more and more exposed to the laws of the market and much less contractual and legally protected.
The forms of work until yesterday considered standard are gradually replacing unprecedented ways, most of which have been - at least initially - hailed as a harbinger of greater freedom, autonomy and opportunity for those who work.
Considerations make clear the following two target groups, which are subject to the changes of the fourth industrial revolution: The young people, who suffered the post-2008 economic depression, are the weakest category facing the speed of this model change. Outside of the classical protections of Fordist work, Europe must ask the question of which accompaniment to give to those who must enter the world of work. On the other hand, women who are still not sufficiently valued for the actual contribution they give to our society.
In addition to this, we also wanted to propose an in-depth study of care work that will be increase within the European welfare systems in the coming decades, depending on the slow-declining continental population curve. If the work changes pace, in fact, even the relationship between the generations changes and it becomes ever more stringent to propose new forms of support for family care.
All the speakers, each for their own area of expertise and for the assigned theme, have contributed to propose ideas and reflections on the theme of Industry 4.0, raising topics, problems, critical issues and objectives that realistically the associations of the Third Sector and the politics (for its part) should be called to face.
Roberto Rossini, National President of ACLI Italia and FAI reiterated that seminars like this are a work opportunity, they are seminars of studies and not conferences, where it is necessary to produce results. See and judge what we observe in their respective countries. According to our historians, the industrial revolutions have been 4. Behind the first, there was the idea that a new freedom would develop. As the scientific- technological paradigm spreads to all the components of life (from the factory to the rational and efficient state) with the second. During this, parties and even associations like ACLI are born, with the idea that a good organization could lead to social well-being. The triangulation between science, technology and politics is very strong. It is also the period of constitutions, parliaments and representativeness. The role of the state is decisive. The third sees the first introduction of electronics, after 1968, in the '70s, has changed the way of producing and even the idea of capitalism, even the way we see things with greater automation of production. The fragmentation of consumption increases, along with the fragmentation of rights. From the democracy of the people to the democracy of the public (atomized). The fourth industrial revolution was born with the Internet in the mid-90s, and it will completely change the way we
look at things. Everything becomes a relationship, an interrelationship between people. Work contracts become weaker and more complicated, we have the feeling of living in a complex society with a multi- truth, difficult to put in order. We also lost the categories through which we can summarize. We need to understand how this world works, and how the social life of this world works. If representative democracy was working until the second industrial revolution, today we are talking about direct democracy because we feel able to participate directly. We know indirect democracy well, and the institutions we have built are based on criteria of representativeness.
How can we make "association" with the workers of Industry 4.0? How do we discuss politics today? How do we "evangelize" the world of work today? Is a social platform enough? We need new social and cultural frameworks, perhaps new organizations. Work is less and less part of the political dimension: from the work that builds democracy, to the loss of today. Among major changes: technological change (we must think about how to form popular classes able to compete in the labor market); demographic change; climate change. In any case we must think in global terms, because we can no longer think of local. It is not a reflection foreign to ACLI, because any transformation will affect the social.
Francesco Seghezzi, Director ADAPT, points out how today the dialogue between the machines is made by the machines themselves, making the human component less. It is clear that technology takes away jobs (it all started in agriculture, and will continue). It is much more complex to identify who will do new jobs. In the future, however, we will miss workers and we will not find enough workers to replace all the baby boomers who will retire, or in new professions. We are not self-sufficient compared to today's job demand and the near future. Today, technology is replacing repetitive work, but also repetitive cognitive works (eg, secretariats, call centers). However, non-routine manual work remains (eg care work, safety, relationships) and cognitive works (consulting, creative, design). It goes towards a great polarization, which has enormous consequences. We need to rethink culturally how wages are formed: added value must be evaluated not only as economic, but also as social output, also rewarding the unpaid social output today. Skills: the update is and will be constant. Transversal skills: from the sale of assets to the sale of assets and related services (further element of relationship, also due to the increasing complexity of the goods sold). In addition, the enterprise (the world of work) must also become a place of training: it has enormous implications, the entrepreneur could have enormous social output with the training of employees who will no longer have shortly. Today the company demands workers already trained for the specific need, but it is impossible without the company having a part of the training. The space for the unions is enormous. Big work in the "certification of skills", so that in transfers in the labor market the worker carries his own training baggage. From the protections on the permanence in the workplace, to the protections that revolve around the worker and move with him. Together, the pillars of twentieth-century work are broken up: the workplace and the working hours, with all the benefits and all the difficulties. Smart working, but also the right to disconnect. Balance sheets? "Technology is not a destiny", we must be able as intermediate bodies to manage the transition and not fall back into technological determinism.
Rainer Rissmayer Coordinator EZA explained how digitalization presents itself as a process of acceleration, and how resilience becomes fundamental. Who will be the owner of the means of production and goods? Ex. Flixbus does not own its buses, but only the service. Set of opportunities and risks at the same time. Digitization must be planned and designed, we are at the beginning and we can do it. At the moment, however, the educational systems are still unfair and not adequate to the challenges, not even in the dual German model.
Emiliano Manfredonia, President of Patronato ACLI and Vice-President ACLI states that today a war has been declared for the new generations. It is a war between old and new generations, but also between the young and the state. Today we talk about at least five people who will have to retire to generate a job. All countries are adjusting the retirement age, but no one has adopted such drastic increases as Italy with the Fornero Law. An important vulnerability exists since 1996: without adjustment to the minimum, pensions of 50-150 euros are possible today, and not 507 as the social pension. If the state creates poor people, it is no longer welfare. The social security must start again from art. 38 of the Constitution: "Any citizen unable to work and without the means necessary to live has the right to social support and assistance; workers have the right that is foreseen and provided a system of adequate means for their life needs in the event of an accident, illness, disability and old age, involuntary unemployment ". Today the state is not alongside the worker, but it is the citizen's counterpart in a negotiation on rights. The Patronage is alongside the workers and is one of the jobs that will not be replaced by automation. ACLI proposals: re-establishing a general principle of exit from the labor market, it is not possible to change every year; in order to guarantee an adequate income, however, intervene on the adjustment to the minimum ("inclusion pension", also with activities to be carried on by the retired who are still able to do something) and refinance integration with supplementary and supplementary pensions.
Juliet Webster, University of Catalonia, expert in Gender Equality explains how digital work risks having a clear problem of gender-disadvantage, which becomes "normalized" or "institutionalized". Even the way contracts are made in the digital world, often informally through social networks and the network, exposes to disadvantages for workers, who are amplified when referred to women. The forms of insecure work have grown exponentially since 2000. Speaking about digital work, we often talk about unpaid work now done by consumers, while once it was the work of paid employees (eg bank, tickets). The individualization of work is growing, it goes as far as personal branding and identity management. Online freelancing requires the ability to sell oneself over and over again. Jobs related to new media, in temporary and precarious jobs, are predominantly performed by women. These works are particularly fragile because they are less protected by trade unions. A high personal price is paid in terms of stress, family conflicts and relationships, with one important point: we look for and adopt individual strategies to tackle structural problems.
Barbara De Micheli, G. Brodolini Foundation, affirms how it is necessary to study the relationship between space and new forms of work (we have studied the relationship with time, while space is taken for granted). From the physicality of space to the interrelations that make up space. The absence of space in the digital world is an appearance, but it is only a change. Change the conception of space, the conception of boundaries. We go abroad ... and at the same time in many jobs it is not necessary to know where we are when we work (the place of work becomes irrelevant, even in "vacation", if necessary) (eg. online): it makes us reflect. "Where" are we working? The real element that allows the digitization of the work is the microprocessor. Decision-making processes, the flow of work, change. Technologies have benefits and problems. Working without space-time limits can be an advantage, but we must still think about borders. Worker control becomes stronger as digitization increases: autonomy is not necessarily increased, control is not necessarily decreasing. If we do not reason about the gender difference of our world, we will also replicate it in the digital world.
Silvia Costa, MEP, recalls the 16 actions of the European Digital Strategy. The European framework of rights and guarantees for atypical jobs that are becoming the reference category, the "typical" category. The Gig economy is giving back very little in terms of jobs, but also in terms of training. Training plays a central role in the new welfare: work changes and we need to keep up.
The theme of conciliation has evolved from the mother-child relationship, to the parent-mother parification (gender parity, parental leave), to assume the "family nucleus" that must be protected in the presence of dependents (not only children, but also elderly people to be treated). However, today protecting the family is difficult, third sector organizations must help politics work in this direction. Reconciliation "family-work" for decent work. Doubling investment in the care economy will lead to thousands of new jobs.
After the social summit in Gothenburg, the climate has changed, "social policies and conciliation policies must be rethought", because it is not conceivable to adjust the economic aspect, leaving the social intervention afterwards. Poverty stems from the critical aspects of training and education. A new directive on the relationship between family and work will be approved soon, both in terms of time and limits and standards. If the Italian government has cut the 4 days of parental leave for fathers, it will be obliged to reintroduce it because in the Directive it will be at least 10 days. The theme is to introduce minimum safeguards in the EU, especially on informal care-givers, both men and women: we must also work on protection and services for care-givers (often care-givers collapse before the people they are attending, because they are unprotected). Studying the portability and cross-border aspects of welfare: ex. keycard of the European student with cv, experiences, etc., with agreements with hostels, hospitals, educational services → right to European study (which is not there today: we need to go beyond the "small" Erasmus). This is also the accompanying welfare in studies. The family is a potentially strong subject, put in conditions of weakness: increases individuality, partial and solitary solutions. Reconciliation must take this into account and get out of individualism. Today digital skills are intertwined with social skills.
Adam Rogalewski, EESC, agrees that the European population is aging and that we know that in some countries we do not have sufficient care services, also due to the austerity measures imposed in recent years. Immigration from the Eastern countries to other states is now inevitable to carry out these care services. From Poland, the migration is of women between 40 and 50, too old to reinvent training, too young to retire. Many young people grow up without their mothers, because they work in other countries as carers: we have to face this phenomenon with a global look. We must treat domestic work for what it is, a problem of the circulation of labor, and take it away from the management of States to attract it to the areas of competence of the Commission. If EU legislation requires that we all have a quality service, we must remunerate this service by remunerating work for its social impact, not as we do so far.
Results of the seminar:
The seminar proposal is, starting from the social dialogue promoted by the European associations present, to build a shared platform for EZA / Industry 4.0 as well as trying to understand if ACLI can build a political platform in view of the next European elections. Even associations must play their part, especially if they are strongly pro-European like ACLI. The intent is that it must be a workshop for the construction and sharing of good practices and new welfare models that meet the expectations of European citizens who are to cope with new and fast rules and methods of work in the era of economy 4.0 and who need training, information, constant and continuous updates and adequate protection.