A 9.th of April, the European Commission (EC) organised a high-level conference on the Future of Work which gathered together representatives from the EU Member States, European institutions, civil society, and academia. Participants explored ways to respond to the changes taking place in the world of work while taking into account the interests of workers, employers, and the economy.
The opening session featured several political figures, including Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills, and Labour Mobility, the Commission, which highlighted that digitalisation, while representing an opportunity for change, can also create certain challenges for the future of work as well as for the economy, society, and democracy. She emphasised that digital policies must succeed in addressing this change. In other words, legislators must ensure that employers, both public and private, as well as education systems can adequately support and empower people.
Afterwards, the conference was divided into six parallel sessions. In one of the sessions, the opportunities that the impact of digitalisation can bring about while reducing the possible risks as much as possible were discussed. Concretely, digitalisation can offer more flexibility which would improve the quality of life and increase productivity, as it provides an opportunity for remote working and flexible working time arrangements. However, the downside of the digitalisation of work is that it is harder to maintain a reasonable work-life balance and disconnect from work while working digitally.
During the parallel sessions, perspectives from social partners and civil society were presented. Among others, Catherine Naughton, Vice-President, Social Platform, highlighted the commitments that the governments have made to the people, enshrined and listed in the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Treaties, the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals and the ratified human rights conventions, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. All the instruments dictate ensuring that workers in the EU have equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and are assured of having adequate social protection and inclusion.
Discussions on the future of work will continue from a global point of view during the next event that will be organized by the International Labour Organisation which will take place in Geneva and will represent an opportunity to celebrate the centenary of the organisation.
EUD was present at this event since ensuring equality in employment is part of its mission. It is therefore important to carefully monitor and address the existing obstacles for deaf people in the future of work.