European social partners framework agreement on digitalisation
The digital transformation of the economy is a multifaceted topic with large implications for labour markets, the world of work and society at large. It is dealt with in a variety of ways by EU member states, due to different social and economic situations, labour markets and industrial relations systems and existing initiatives, practices and collective agreements.
The digital transformation brings clear benefits for employers, workers and jobseekers alike, in terms of new job opportunities, increased productivity, improvements in working conditions and new ways of organising work and improved quality of services and products. Overall, with the right strategies, it can lead to employment growth and job retention.
The transition also comes with challenges and risks for workers and enterprises, as some tasks will disappear and many others will change. This requires the anticipation of change, the delivery of skills needed for workers and enterprises to succeed in the digital age. Others include work organisation and working conditions, work life balance and accessibility of technology, including infrastructure, across the economy and regions. Specific approaches are also needed for SMEs to embrace digitalisation in a way that is tailored to their specific circumstances.
Since the gains are not automatic, we need to adapt our labour markets, education and training, and social protection systems to make sure the transition is mutually beneficial for employers and workers. The EU and national governments have an important role to play, by ensuring that the framework conditions allow and support employers and workers to grasp the opportunities and leave them space to find appropriate solutions to deal with the challenges, bearing in mind that they know best the situation on the ground and what measures are needed to benefit enterprises and workers.
It is also important to take into account the climate and environmental impacts.
Furthermore, a shared commitment is needed on the part of employers, workers and their representatives to make the most of the opportunities and deal with the challenges in a partnership approach, whilst respecting the different roles of those involved.
This framework agreement is the shared commitment of the European cross-sectoral social partners - BusinessEurope, SMEunited, CEEP and the ETUC (and the liaison committee EUROCADRES/ CEC) - to optimise the benefits and deal with the challenges of digitalisation in the world of work.
This framework agreement aims to:
- Raise awareness and improve understanding of employers, workers and their representatives of the opportunities and challenges in the world of work resulting from the digital transformation;
- Provide an action-oriented framework to encourage, guide and assist employers, workers and their representatives in devising measures and actions aimed at reaping these opportunities and dealing with the challenges, whilst taking into account existing initiatives, practices and collective agreements;
- Encourage a partnership approach between employers, workers and their representatives;
- Support development of a human-oriented approach to integration of digital technology in the world of work, to support/assist workers and enhance productivity;
- Outlining a joint dynamic circular process, which takes into account the different roles and responsibilities of the different actors and can be tailored to different national, sectoral and/ or enterprise situations, industrial relations systems, jobs and different digital technologies/tools;
- Highlighting concrete approaches, actions and measures, which employers, workers and their representatives can use, according to their specific needs and circumstances, to tackle topics such as skills, work organisation and working conditions.