This luncheon discussion, organised by the Think Tank Hub, addressed the current changes in the labour market driven by
This luncheon discussion, organised by the Think Tank Hub, addressed the current changes in the labour market driven by the fourth industrial revolution. The topic was presented by guest speaker Jan Smit, a Partner of the Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services, which recently published the report ‘Industry 4.0’ for the European Parliament.
Smit first addressed the phenomenon of ‘uberisation’, both as a narrow phenomenon affecting the transportation sector and as a broad trend visible in other sectors such as as journalism, tourism, finance, delivery services - with important consequences for society at large. This trend is put into motion by developments in technology, which could be presented as ‘Industry 4.0’. While the fourth industrial revolution is often either presented as an opportunity for increased productivity or in relation to IT security, Smit focused on its consequences on work and labour. He addressed the following issues:
These issues generate policy challenges for governments, as they can ultimately affect the ‘tenants of the world order’.
The Q&A session addressed a wide range of related topics, including the possibility of increased polarisation and inequality between developed and developing countries, and the question of whether these challenges are inherently new, or whether they are old challenges in a new context. Wider topics were also addressed, such as Internet governance, data protection, and the potential effects of artificial intelligence.
The Think Thank Talk on The Uberisation of the Labour Market will be held on 22 February 2017, between 12.00 and 14.00 CET, in Geneva, Switzerland. The event is organised by the The Think Thank Hub, an initiative by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and managed by foraus, a Swiss Think Thank – Forum of Swiss Foreign Policy.
Labour conditions have been changing over time and we are currently living in what many call a 4th industrial revolution, from a labour market mainly driven by multinationals towards the auto- entrepreneur’s labour market. The Uberisation phenomenon is revolutionising labour conditions through technology platforms which facilitate work and create a 'people experience' for workers which eclipses the traditional company culture. But this evolution raises substantial concerns ranging from job insecurity to a regulatory race-to-the-bottom. Furthermore, this trend is politically sensitive since it raises the debate about whether the gains of consumers outweigh the loss of job security. In fact, some countries traditionally more left-leaning have already decided to ban certain services that others see as an unavoidable future of society.
The event will offer a space to reflect on how this trend affects the labour market and labour conditions. It also aims at assessing what are the losses of workers in respect with the gains of auto-entrepreneurs and consumers. Do the gains outweigh the losses? Amid growing tendencies towards populism and protectionist policies, we might also wonder how this disruptive process will be addressed by these new sets of policies and how it is likely to evolve accordingly over time. It is time to discuss the future of labour conditions.
For more information, visit the event webpage.