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Workshop "Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World" 28 th of November, 2018 at the Hans Böckler Foundation, Düsseldorf

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SUMMARY REPORT
Workshop
"Transnational Labour Policy
in a Digitized World"
28th of November, 2018
at the Hans Böckler Foundation, Düsseldorf
Oliver Pfirrmann, Francesco Garibaldo, Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen
Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
Table of Content
1. Introduction ………………..…………………………………………………………………………………………….3
2. Workshop Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………….4
Review of the Pilot Workshop….…………………………………………………………………..…………….4
Results from the November Workshop……………………………………………………………………….5
3. Annex……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….16
Presentations…………………….…………………………………………………………………………………….16
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Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
1. Introduction
It has become a commonplace that digitalization is not confined to national borders and that
businesses globally will adapt their business models and work practices accordingly. In addi-
tion the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 or Gig Economy are current keywords for the trans-
formation of economies worldwide based on digitalization. But what happens within these
economies? Is the future of capitalism based on platform technologies which operate all
around the world? Do national trade unions have the right concepts to take care about the
people that work on these platforms? And do we need a transnational strategy to prevent
national economies from digital multinationals?
A look into the relevant literature shows at a first glance that various studies emphasize the
labour saving effects of digitalization (or digitization) not only from a country specific view but
worldwide.1 However, all effects of digitization on employment are still subject of intense sci-
entific debates.
So what seems necessary is a cross-border comparative or transnational perspective. The
countries of the European Union ought to seem a good starting point, because here institu-
tions do exist that could develop answers for the possible negative consequences of digitiza-
tion on employment and working conditions. An expanded view of the European or interna-
tional (labour) perspective nevertheless shows that in this debate the transnational view is
only conditionally recognizable.
Based on experience from a first (pilot) workshop at the end of 2016, focusing mainly on the
situation in Germany, a second workshop was launched at December 5th, 2017, including con-
tributions from an international perspective. The second workshop invited contributions from
UK, Italy, the Netherlands, US and from Germany. Because of the intensive discussion and the
demand for information on other countries, a third workshop was planned and launched in
November 2018. The aims were similar to the prior workshops: to discuss digitization, em-
ployment and working conditions and how this becomes visible within and across different
European countries. In addition the workshop discussion should shed some light on challenges
and options for government policy and trade unions.
The third workshop took place at the Hans Böckler Foundation in Düsseldorf and included 23
participants from employee representative organizations, academia and practice across Eu-
1 World Bank Group (2016, eds.): World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends, Washington.
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Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
rope covering the following countries: France, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Germa-
ny.2 The following documentation gives a brief overview on the main topics of the workshop
presentations, the discussions accordingly and a list of all participants.
2. Workshop Summary
Review of Pilot Workshop
One result of the pilot and the second workshop was that digitization is a topic which is treat-
ed very differently in Europe. The international discussion about Industry 4.0 as one of the
major concepts within digitization was and is still at an early stage compared to the situation
in Germany. It was therefore suggested that the focus should be expanded from Industry 4.0
to nearly all relevant digitization developments in business and labour. An additional result of
the prior workshops was, that as many countries as possible should be covered by successive
workshop meetings to collect and to exchange information about labour policies in the con-
text of digitization in the EU and worldwide respectively.
Therefore, the third workshop in November 2018 tried to highlight issues from a workers'
point of view. For example, what are the consequences for (production) work in individual
countries and whether EU-wide standards for a "high-quality model of work" can be estab-
lished in Europe? For this reason a number of conceptional questions had been developed
that can be regarded as recurring themes for the workshop in 2016 and the successive ones:
Which institutions are relevant in the respective countries for labour policies on digiti-
zation (e.g. ministries, associations / unions, law)?
Which supra-national institutions are important for labour policies on digitization (for
example, ILO, IMF, World Bank)?
What other factors are of additional importance for labour policies on digitization
(training, wages, positioning in international competition, multinationals, international
agreements)?
What experiences have been made so far with work policies on digitization in the re-
spective countries, and can one observe on a cross-border basis, patterns of develop-
ment or politics?
2 A list of all participants from all countries is available at the end of the documentation.
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Results from the November Workshop
The workshop at November 28th, 2018 started with a welcome note, launched by Marc Schiet-
inger from Hans Böckler Foundation. Oliver Pfirrmann, member of the project team, present-
ed an overview of the workshop concept, including the key questions and the workshop pro-
gram.
The morning session with contributions from two CEE countries
Following this introductional part, two contributions from Central Europe, Poland and Slovakia
(including Czechia), and a co-presentation from Germany had been discussed in the morning
session.
Poland
Dominik Owczarek, from the Institute of Public Affairs (ISP) in Warszawa, launched the first
presentation of the morning session. He started with a description of those institutions which
are relevant for work-related digitalisation. Dominik outlined, that the Polish (liberal) model of
minimal state that has been implemented since 1989, implies limited impact of public policies
on the issues of interest. The main policy directions and goals in this respect are pointed out
in the Strategy for Responsible Development [Strategia Odpowiedzialnego Rozwoju] enacted
in 2016. Main actor is the Ministry of Digitalisation. The ministry deals, however, mostly with
digitalisation of public administration services and European Digital single market. In this con-
text Dominik mentioned some EU funded programs for entrepreneurs aiming at innovation
and digitalisation operated by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development [Polska Agencja
Rozwoju Przedsiębiorczości, PARP]. The key labour market instruments like the National Train-
ing Fund [Krajowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy] which is a part of the Labour Fund [Fundusz Pracy]
are in Dominik`s view not prepared yet for digital transformation. He outlined that social part-
ners and collective bargaining system are relatively weak in Poland and a social dialogue of
stakeholders play a minor role in decision-making process. Therefore, their impact on public
policies is weak, despite the fact that they attempt to take an active role especially at central
governmental level in the Social Dialogue Council [Rada Dialogu Społecznego]. As a first con-
clusion Dominik stated that the main responsibility of changes on Polish labour market – to-
wards digitalisation / automation of work has been given to entrepreneurs and market
economy entities.
Concerning the key factors driving the digital transformation, Dominik highlighted the follow-
ing: (1) technological transfer (accompanied by skills transfer among employees) within mul-
tinational companies operating in Poland; (2) recent labour market developments: labour
shortage and raise of wages which will probably force technological investments among large
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part of companies; (3) new forms of work like: platform work, ICT-based mobile work, posting
of workers enabling (almost) work anytime and anywhere; (4) prevalence of imitative practic-
es (innovation by imitation of solutions from developed economies) among companies with
local ownership which aspire to cross-border competition; (5) global competition of small por-
tion of companies with local ownership.
With regard to experiences which have been made with the work of digitalisation so far,
Dominik outlined that current public policies and public debate pertaining digital transfor-
mation are not developed yet. This is due to the fact that the issue is not a subject of policy
programmes and the level of innovative investments among companies is critically low.
Dominik described Poland’s economic model as embedded in low labour costs, well skilled
labour force, relatively low corporate taxes with high share of Foreign Direct Investments (tax
reliefs for FDIs), which is, from his point of view typical for the post-socialist countries in the
CEE region. Therefore, labour costs in the majority of labour market segments have been sig-
nificantly lower than costs of implementing digital solutions (the level of innovative invest-
ments to GDP is one of the lowest in the EU) preventing large scale digitalisation of economy
until now. Dominik referred to recent estimations that these circumstances will change in the
nearest future. So, approx. 30% of current professions in Poland will disappear in the next
decades in effect of digital transformation. As a consequence labour market institutions
should be ready to implement group outplacement programmes, and to deliver training and
job placement in other segment of labour market in order to avoid technological unemploy-
ment. However, as mentioned at the beginning of his presentation, in Dominik´s view Poland
is not prepared yet for the scenario of rapid digital transformation which possibly may occur
in the next one or two decades.
Slovakia and Czechia
The second contribution in the morning session was launched by Monika Martišková, Central
European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI) in Bratislava. Monika offered insights into two coun-
tries, Slovakia and Czechia and from two perspectives: an institutional/policy view and results
from her own survey conducted under the project of European Trade Union Institute on
changes related to digitization in the automotive industry and attitudes of social partners. Her
central thesis focused on a supposed mismatch between MNCs strategies, social partners and
state policies which might have fatal consequences on the future of industry in each country
of investigation. With regard to her central thesis Monika outlined main characteristics of la-
bour markets in both countries: 1) part of West-European production chains in manufactur-
ing; 2) low labour costs; 3) high percentage of manual workers; 4) low share of work in value
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creation; 5) strong presence of MNCs; the value added created in foreign owned companies
60 % in the Slovak economy, in automotive around 90%; 6) high dependence on export and
foreign demand. In addition in both countries a lower level of automatization does exist be-
cause of comparatively low labour costs, lower autonomy of subsidiaries and a lack of skilled
management and workers. Beyond low labour costs and due to the fact of labour shortage,
geographical proximity to West-Europe and the presence of MNC enhances digitization au-
tomatization at the workplace.
With regard to the institutional framework Monika mentioned an action plan to be prepared
for new technologies in both countries of investigation. However, while in Slovakia the rele-
vant action plan was accepted in 10/2018, including 35 measures to support innovations, of
which 14 supports education transformation and cooperation with business, a similar plan
was launched in the Czechia in 2017 but without budget. Complementing state activities, for
example state subsidies for R&D and innovation, specific strategies on jobs transformation or
platform economies employment strategies are either not existent or underdeveloped like
cooperation between universities and the industry sector or R&D expenditures in relation to
GDP.
In the second part of her presentation Monika highlighted interview results with managers,
employees and trade unionists in MNC. Again, she supported her main thesis concerning the
mismatch between MNCs strategies, social partners and state policies based on own empirical
observations. With regard to relatively weak positions of trade unions Monika pointed out
that in her interviews trade unions representatives in Czechia welcomed robotization because
of labour shortages. Social partners, especially in Slovakia also miss strategies how to address
Industry 4.0 technologies and their impacts on labour markets and employment in general. As
a result, digitization in Czechia and Slovakia depends mostly on MNC strategies and their local
subsidiaries position in global production networks. While this takes place mainly in the manu-
facturing sector, other industry sectors do not participate in this technological development
and therefore do not demand (sophisticated) policy action.
Discussion
Both presentations from CEE countries were complemented by a third contribution from r-
gen Klippert, IG Metall, the German trade union for workers in the manufacturing sector. Jür-
gen presented a detailed overview on the digital transformation and its effects on working
conditions and labour policies from the perspective of the IG Metall. Based on his three-piece
agenda 1) Possible futures of production, 2) Consequences for working conditions and 3) De-
signing decent work, Jürgen discussed driving factors of digitization and possible interactions
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of them in different scenarios. Following the consequences for worker on the shop floor as
well as on the management level, he emphasized the view of IG Metall that work design im-
plies a broader understanding than a pure technological view and does include topics like er-
gonomics, usability, time sovereignty, or vocational training. At the end of his overview Jürgen
highlighted projects for “Designing work” with regard to digitization, where in cooperation
with ongoing Industry 4.0 projects in the German economy common activities are undertaken
to gain learning experiences for all involved actors (shop floor workers, work councils, man-
agement service level) and, last but not least, for the relevant company that gains a higher
level of maturity regarding to responsible work design.
The following discussion made clear, that especially the issue of MNC and their production
chains are an important aspect of digitization. While the concept of Industry 4.0 had shed
some light on the debate of re- or near-shoring manufacturing plants back to West-European
economies, existing value chains between Western and Central Europe had not yet been dis-
cussed so intensively before. Because of the fact that MNC and global production chains are
operating around the world and because they can play an important role for the speed of dif-
fusion in every country it was recommended to further investigate this topic in the near fu-
ture. Furthermore the relevance of low labour costs in all countries of investigation was ques-
tioned with regard to open borders in the EU (and also on a global level). Here discussion led
to the question whether well educated workers from CEE “brain drain” to the Western hemi-
sphere with higher wages and which consequences will follow for Central and Eastern Europe
economies? Several discussants called for common strategies on a European level or as
showed in the presentation of Jürgen Klippert, a framework of agreements with a worldwide
range. The latter recommendation met with high approval especially from trade unionists
from other countries.
The afternoon session included four contributions from France, Spain, Italy and Israel.
France
Augustin Bourguignat, from the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), Paris re-
ported from France. He started his presentation with statements on the industrial and techno-
logical situation in France in general. He outlined that re-industrialization of the French econ-
omy has become more important than digitization. However, Augustin pointed out that this
neglects long term aspects of technological change. In addition, he referred to another speci-
fication of the discussion in France: digitization in manufacturing will be conducted under the
title “Industrie du future”. Augustin stated in this context that France is on various fields more
in the status of Industry 2.0 than Industry 4.0 compared to other West-European countries.
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Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
He regards “Industrie du future” as an attempt to re-industrialize the French economy. Thus,
Industrie du future is faced with two kinds of difficulties: a very specific technology oriented
view and workers as passive players. The specific technology oriented view, however, does
not include a global view on, for example, new business models, but is mainly oriented to-
wards a local business perspective. The aspect of qualification, education, new forms of work
organisation is given less or no importance, with the exception of workers skills operating new
machines. Augustin emphasized that in French policy no awareness of the long term effects of
Industry 4.0 and the diffusion of digitization technologies does exist. Moreover no strategical
explanation or information is provided on a global perspective, i.e. what happens in countries
competing with France on global markets.
However, there is (on the one hand) something happening in France what Augustin called a
underground revolution”: factories are transforming old machines by new machines, old
production chains by new production chains by implementing news technologies and skills for
workers in contact with them. In many cases these issues aren’t directly addressed. As a con-
sequence, this leads to major concerns not only from a trade unionists view but also for man-
agement and employees in manufacturing. There are (on the other hand) some activities
noteworthy that can be regarded as an attempt to cover the challenges of digitization from
various viewpoints. In this context Augustin mentioned first the “Alliance pour l’industrie du
future” which was created in 2015. This alliance consists of members from small and medium-
sized firms from mechanical industry, universities and public research laboratories (like CEA,
CETIM etc.). The particularity of this alliance is its embeddedness in regions, thus providing a
link between regions and the state in centralised countries like France. Beyond this the alli-
ance focuses on three fields: 1) digitization of production; 2) integration and normalization of
Industrie du futur; 3) development of new skills. Augustin ended up in his presentation with
activities of CFDT taking into account the initiatives of the alliance and complementing these
with a social dialogueconsidering a more holistic view on digitization within different sec-
tors of employment and to establish agreements for workers to cope with the challenges of
this radical, but non-deterministic technological development.
Spain
The second presentation in the afternoon session was launched by Holm-Detlev Köhler, Uni-
versity of Oviedo in Spain. Similar to the prior presentation Holm started with statements on
the industrial and technological situation in Spain in general. In a more detailed description of
the Spanish economy he outlined that the vast majority of firms is small (i.e. less than ten em-
ployees) and contains more than 40 percent of all employees but is hampered by less produc-
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tivity compared to the average of similar firms in the EU. In the context of employment devel-
opment Holm emphasized that the Spanish economy is facing the problem of occupational
polarisation, i.e. the share of employees in the group of scientific and intellectual technicians
and professionals has more than doubled similar to the group of unskilled elementary occupa-
tions, while the group of customer services clerks has been more or less stabilized, all in the
period from 1987 to 2017.
With regard to Industry 4.0 and digitization respectively Holm outlined that relevant activities
mainly happen in large industry plants and in specific industry sectors like aeronautics, auto-
motive, railway, health and food and beverages. These activities have been, however, accom-
panied by specific policy measures which show that, in contrast to France, the Spanish gov-
ernment is going to address the challenges of digitization with sophisticated measures and on
different levels. Holm outlined the various programs ranging from the digital agenda in 2013,
the tripartite social pact to promote industrial growth and modernisation in 2014, the round
table on industry and employment and the “Connected Industry 4.0” program in 2015, the
Tripartite “Declaration in favour of the industry” in 2016 and the Training Plan in Digital Com-
petencies (national and regional governments and social partners in 2017. In addition he re-
ferred to specific action programmes like “HADA(Herramienta de Autodiagnóstico Avanzado
advanced self-diagnostic tools) and “ACTIVA(customised consulting on the implementation
of digital technologies and processes), both from 2017. Holm emphasized that Industry 4.0
activities are clustered around nine technology areas and are addressing a comprehensive list
of relevant topics like the inclusion of small and medium sized firms, norms and standards or
the launch of so-called digital ecosystems, for example platforms or technology centres.
What seems additionally noteworthy from his presentation was first the rise of regions as one
important driver for digitization. Holm mentioned in this context the “The Basque Digital In-
novation HUB”. Second, Holm differentiated between the two notions of digitization in Span-
ish society: on the one hand Industry 4.0, which was characterized by him as silent revolution.
On the other hand the so-called platform or Gig economy, specified by companies like Uber,
or Deliveroo, which have led to many public debates and conflicts. At the end of his contribu-
tion Holm emphasized that trade union in Spain trying to cope with the both: Industry 4.0 and
the Gig economy. Consequently the risks identified by Holm in his last slide belong to both:
digitization in manufacturing and the service sector. Thus digitization represents not only two
sides of a medal but also belongs to a new face of the economic system.
Discussion
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Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
Francesco Garibaldo from Claudio Sabattini Foundation, as chair of the afternoon session
commented the presentations from France and Spain and complemented this with explana-
tions from own research.
Francesco outlined that for trade unions in Europe, there are many areas of concerns regard-
ing the introduction of a strategy of digitisation, whatever denomination each country select-
ed. There are different analytical levels. For Francesco the contributions from France and
Spain referred on the cultural and political choices trade unions should do on the new tech-
nologies. Firstly, as the French contribution states, the option should be in favour of a non-
deterministic conception of technologies and therefore stressing its ambivalence and the ex-
istence of space for action against any prophecy of doom. Secondly, as the Spanish contribu-
tion has highlighted, it should be demanded a fair process of transition based on the acknowl-
edgement, at every level, of the involvement of trade unions as collective bargaining subject.
Lastly, as the Spanish contribution has stated the digitisation process involves not only the
traditional enterprises, but it leads to a new form of capitalism, the platform capitalism. It
enlarges the sphere of the economic activities managed for a profit and following the scheme
of the process of capitalist extraction of value. This new kind of capitalism produces feedback
on the old one undermining the labour social power through the marginalisation of relevant
parts of the workforce.
For Francesco, this happens on different economic levels and, with regard to the unbounded
technological character, national as well transnational or global:
At the macro level, national: First of all, there is a problem with specific economic and social-
political situations. In a case with a significant downward trend as to the share of the industri-
al sector on the overall economic activity, the main problem is to push for a process of re-
industrialisation. It is necessary to avoid that the innovation process will be restricted to some
so-called champions without a relevant fall-out on the overall national economic structure,
based in many countries such as Spain or small and medium enterprises. This is the case for
France. Besides, if the process is also unevenly geographical distributed, as it is the case for
Spain, France and Italy, there is also a problem of geographic rebalancing. This is a typical is-
sue of industrial and fiscal policies, up to the national government and State, but also a matter
of the European Union policies.
Secondly, there are at stake the knowledge and skill assets of each country and the EU as an
integrated industrial system. This is an issue not only for public powers at different levels but
also of the industrial firms. It happens, indeed, that, where the prevailing industrial players
are small and medium firms, there is an overproduction of skills and, also because of the na-
ture of the new technologies, a growing polarisation of the workforce.
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Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
Thirdly, trade unions are worried namely in the Spain contribution - of the employment con-
sequences of a general process of digitisation and a consequent deeper automatization. The
likely outcomes are an overall reduction of employment rates and/or of a broad restructuring
of the workforce: the emptying out of the middle in favour of the growth of the bottom.
Based on the previous experience of the ICT development phase in the eighties - the period
labelled as automatization by Shoshana Zuboff, to highlight the difference with the later peri-
od of informatisation the first concern is debatable, the second one is more likely.
Fourthly, there are differences in the rate and the pace of the digitalisation process across
sectors. It seems, at the analytical level, that should also be highlighted the differences within
each industry. What is relevant, more than the sector is the specific relationship between
markets and products. It is this relationship guiding the mix of process and product digitalisa-
tion and deciding which one of the two is the strategic goal of each enterprise. For trade un-
ions is relevant to understand these differences to shape at the enterprise level the bargaining
strategies.
Fifthly, in Spain as in France, there is a severe problem of enabling infrastructure and in
France, as in Italy, of a low ranking in the DESI scoreboard, mainly due to a low level of R&D
investments both by the national States and the private enterprises. Lastly, in Spain as in
France and Italy, the consultation and the bargaining rights on the innovation process are not
enshrined in the law.
A call for field research: The European industrial system is an integrated system based on
Europe-wide supply chains; besides, we are witnessing the making of industrial eco-systems
that are horizontally integrated systems of production. Due to this situation, trade unions
need deepening their knowledge of the case, also building a shared European database map-
ping the new world of industry. This endeavour should accompany the building of a transna-
tional bargaining process. However, to make progress towards this strategic goal, we need to
start a full transnational process of research on the digitalisation process at the company, at
the supply chain and each eco-system level. Platform capitalism should become one of the
main issues of concern for trade unions. It seems that in Spain and France, there is still
knowledge of the situation based on aggregate data and information and the available infor-
mation made available from the companies. We need a deeper and more analytical
knowledge based on field research.
Israel
The afternoon session was completed by a special contribution from Israel. Leah Glicksman,
Judge at the National Labour Court, Israel outlined in her presentationLabor Law in the Age
of Digitization” how the Israeli National Labour Court tackles the challenges of digitization.
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Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
At the beginning of her presentation Leah outlined the framework conditions or in her own
words goals within those the National Labour Court operates: 1) judging instead of striking; 2)
providing expertise in adjudicating; 3) courts should be “user friendly”. Leah then described
the composition of the courts, where professional judges, appointed by the committee which
appoints general court judges, meet together with lay judges. The latter are appointed by the
Minister of Justice and the Minister of Labour, according to recommendations of a counselling
committee and consist of one representative of the labour and one representative from man-
agement side. In Leah´s perspective this composition of the National Labour Court underlines
the partnership between unions, employers’ organizations and the state. While the National
Labour Court is located in Jerusalem with three professional judges and two lay judges and an
appeal instance, there are five regional courts in the whole country. The original jurisdiction in
nationwide strikes and collective disputes, however, belongs to the National Court and in-
cludes a broad jurisdiction on topics for example individual and collective labour disputes,
criminal labour law, pension matters or rights under the National Health Insurance Law.
Leah referred in her presentation to some recent “case studies” from jurisdiction concerning
digitization. Here she explained the example of E-Mail correspondence (what are do´s and
don´ts within the workplace), the biometric clock (collective agreement vs. individual right),
and social networks (tackling the issue of privacy). Leah complemented her contribution with
the principles of guiding policy for the National Labour Court: 1) balancing between the em-
ployee’s right to privacy and the employer’s right to his property and manage the workplace;
2) the employee is entitled to a private virtual space; 3) digital information that was obtained
while violating the right of privacy cannot be used as evidence; 4) an employer or an employ-
ee can ask a court’s order to obtain digital information. She finished with central conclusions
based on her experience as Judge highlighting first the challenges of digitization for labour
relations. Second the willingness of all parties to work on creative solutions meeting the needs
of a digitized society.
Summary and final discussion
The final and overall discussion highlighted that the picture about digitization and impacts on
workers, employment and economies is still complex and contains several issues, which need
more research and discussion with different stakeholders and from various countries. There
are, however, topics that have been mentioned by several discussants and exhibit similarities
to the prior workshop(s).
First, the examples of Slovakia and the Czechia but also from other countries emphasized the
relevance of a more detailed investigation in the activities of MNCs and their value chains re-
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Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World Summary Report of the Workshop
spectively. This is not only owed to the transnational or global character of this new technolo-
gy which calls for global agreements (Jürgen Klippert). Beyond this there are the “two no-
tions” of digitization (Holm-Detlev Köhler) which represent in fact two side of the same medal.
The change of production chains is an essential part of digitization, especially Industry 4.0.
One important issues here is, for example, the claim of this concept being a blue-print for re-
or near-shoring manufacturing plants back to the Western hemisphere. First examples of
sporting goods producer addidas or home appliance producer like Rowenta or Bosch may
support this claim. Because of the extended opportunities to collect and to evaluate infor-
mation based on electronic and often real-time data, it seems inevitably that new actors with
new business models become visible in established markets and their value or production
chains respectively. Whether this leads to a losing relevance of manufacturing compared to
service activities in value creation (the smiling curve provided by Monika Martišková) or not
may be left to further research. Similar is the question of possible impacts of the new value
chains on, for example skills, education and employment (Pamela Meil).
Second, the operation of MNCs, the emergence of new players in established markets and the
change of production chains was discussed several times in a regional or local context. Again,
not only the regional examples provided by the French contribution (Augustin Bourguignat)
and the Spanish presentation (Holm-Detlev Köhler) but also the various discussants referred
to view on digitization in a local/regional context.3 And this is strongly in correspondence with
regional innovation theory which argues that new technological developments have to be
investigated within their regional environment. Whether this is influenced by so-called cluster
policies or is a result of centripetal forces of economic activity which my lead to so-called “Is-
lands of Innovation” (Ulrich Hilpert) is still an open question and should be left to more re-
search of digitization in a local/regional context.
Third, both topics mentioned above have relevance for trade unions. On the one hand digiti-
zation has to be grasped in a wider context. As outlined by Francesco Garibaldo the platform
capitalism enlarges the sphere of the economic activities managed for a profit and following
the scheme of the process of capitalist extraction of value. This new kind of capitalism pro-
duces feedback on the old one undermining the labour social power through the marginalisa-
tion of relevant parts of the workforce. On the other hand some practical issues arise whether
working agreements, for example workers participation, on a global level fit the needs of lo-
cal/regional variation of value chains. For example, if a country with low wages “export”
3 See also the summary of the workshop"Transnational Labour Policy in a Digitized World" from 5th of Decem-
ber, 2017 (internal documentation for the Hans Böckler Foundation) and the contributions of UK and Italy.
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skilled workers to a country with high wages this ought to be a matter for trade unions in both
countries but from different perspectives. In one country with low wages the question of edu-
cating workers for wealthier countries comes up with the likely result of a “brain drain” and a
loss of economic power (demand). In the wealthier country the issue of displacing skilled
workers with high wages by skilled workers with low wage expectations comes up. Both have
to be discussed with trade unionists from both countries and as far as the discussion of the
workshop showed by trying to establish arrangements on a “glocal level” (Gabi Schilling).
Fourth and finally, this third workshop has verified one of the central issues of this workshop
series that the institutional environment of each country influences our view on digitization in
broader and on Industry 4.0 in a specific sense. Beginning with the varying embeddedness of
relevant actors, as they are governments, trade unions and industry associations, nearly all
speakers emphasized that this environment has impacts on the digitization arrangements in
each country. There are, however, countries that operate still as pioneers, which path the way
for institutional arrangements, followed by others. For example Dominik Owzarek showed
that Poland has taken some elements of the German policy model, e.g. the Industry 4.0 plat-
form and some actors (ministries on the policy side). Also the Spanish example showed that,
in the meantime, trade unionists in Western Europe work together and look what they can
learn from a “German way” and probably what not, emphasizing e.g. the tripartite dialogue
between policy, industry and trade unions. Nevertheless, still today there is no convincing
industrial strategy or approach to cover mainly all negative effects of digitization. At least this
workshop has shown that a constructive dialogue of all involved parties, including the law (the
example of Israel provided by Leah Glicksman) may be a promising way to grasp some ad-
vantages of digitization.
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3. Annex
Workshop Presentations
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