Digitalisation is already changing production processes in our sectors and could fundamentally transform working conditions and labour relations. Together with BWI, the EFBWW will seek to influence such transformations to serve workers' interests. No workers may find themselves left behind, and any who lose their jobs must be fairly compensated and requalified for new professional activities. Moreover, productivity gains arising through digitalisation must be fairly distributed by increasing wages.
For the EFBWW, a fair transformation entails limiting working time so that workers are also protected in the digital age. The EFBWW will oppose any attempt to introduce new flexibility into the European Working Time Directive. EFBWW affiliates have already shown that through collective bargaining agreements they can arrive at working time arrangements that are tailored to workers' personal needs and provide a better work-life balance.
Using digital tools will give companies new ways of collecting data on workers, commercialising them or using them to control workers. The EFBWW demands the high-level protection of personal data on workers, while allowing data to be used to combat any circumvention of social and labour laws and standards. Digital tools need to be introduced to improve measurements of working time – including for mobile workers on changing construction sites – to ensure that any overtime is always duly compensated. Any such tools need to be developed and deployed in cooperation with workers and their representatives.
Requalification of the workforce is essential for ensuring that workers find decent jobs and that their jobs are not downgraded in a transformed digital economy. The EFBWW will back European initiatives for the (re)qualification of workers, including use of EU funding to support them.
New technologies have the potential to make workplaces safer and healthier. And rather than being deployed to increase workload and stress, they should serve to improve working conditions and make our sectors more attractive for young and female workers. The EFBWW will perform a thorough risk assessment of new technologies and strive to ensure high standards for occupational health – including mental health – and safety in a digitalised economy.