Mankind’s confrontation with the challenges of technical change is centuries old. However, the permanent pressure to transform has reached a speed due to digitization that was previously unknown.
Industrial companies and their employees are now faced with another enormous challenge: the energy supply and industrial production must be decarbonized as quickly as possible in order to stop climate change. New geopolitical developments are accelerating the process of becoming independent of fossil fuels. This double pressure from digital acceleration and conversion of production technologies and infrastructure for a sustainable and stable economy in Europe can have a disruptive effect on established industrial production and work models; but it also contains great opportunities for modernization and the design of Decent Work in a leading industrial nation.
The range of labor policy fields of action in the course of the double transformation is large. A successful socio-democratic transformation includes, above all, securing income, social standards and professional development opportunities for all employees. Neither technological utopias nor dystopias are helpful here – what is needed is a well-founded understanding of how socio-technological development unfolds in concrete terms and which political decisions are required accordingly in order to manage a fair transformation – a just transition. This differs from industry to industry and from company to company. The effects on work and employment are correspondingly wide-ranging.
The Labor and Environment Foundation focuses on two questions:
- How are value creation patterns and production structures in industry changing against the background of decarbonization, digitization, but also globalization and demographic change? How can you keep industrial companies on site for sustainable leading industrial production in Europe?
- Against the background of the current transformations and crises, how can Decent Work be made future-proof? What adjustments are needed, for example, in internal and external training and further education?
The Work and Environment Foundation carries out projects that are intended to contribute to a better understanding of the interaction between people and technology, work and society.
The joint discussion with representatives of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Hans Böckler Foundation focused on the topics of digitalization and platform economy as well as the different trade union strategies to keep pace with the new political topics and circumstances in the course of changes in the labor market.