Digital Work- Real Bargaining. How to Ensure Sustainability of Social Dialogue in Digital Era?

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 134 (University of Glasgow)
Joanna Unterschütz , University of Business and Administration, Gdynia, Poland
With the rapid developments of the digital economy, new trends such as cloud computing, mobile web services and social media, not only change enterprises and business models, but - perhaps even to a larger extent - industrial relations. They can provide new opportunities such as a good match of job opportunities or allow flexible working schedules. But at the same time crowdwork or  work on demand can be perceived within the wider trend towards the casualization of labour. Digital work may also encourage “disguised employment relationships,” or sham self-employment as a way to  circumvent labour and social security regulation attached exclusively to employment .

The new business model can be also challenging for traditional collective labour law institutions, such as collective bargaining or collective action. Trade unions already may find it difficult to organize precarious workers, and digital work poses new challenges. For some of these workers, it may result confusing when it comes to identifying who their “employer” is for certain purposes such as of collective bargaining. The role of a client in such arrangement involving multiple parties is also an interesting question.

EU policy seems to support growth of digital economy, seeing its potential to boost competitiveness and innovation, as underlined in the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. However, in order to guarantee sustainability of social economy based i.a. on the dialogue of social partners a stronger involvement  of EU policy in this area is needed.

  • Digital work CES.pdf (252.6 kB)