It’s time for a new social contract

Mapping out new careers  

Although predictions of job losses due to automation have become less extreme, it’s inevitable that occupations will change, some will disappear and new ones will emerge. Which means that building skills as part of an ongoing professional development is all the more important, and employees must be encouraged to critically review their careers and be open to new trends. Here too, there’s a great need for measures based on social partnership, such as a training offer for all workers defined in collective employment agreements, and at the same time an openness to changes in occupation profiles. This is something that has been incorporated into the digitisation strategy of the Unia trade union in Switzerland.2

Promoting participation at all levels

For everyone to benefit from technological innovation, dialogue between all the stakeholders is of utmost importance. There should be direct participation of employees in a company’s technological projects, negotiations between social partners, and exchange at the political level, where research funding and legal regulation set important course for technology development.

The Swiss Federal Railways SBB and the railway staff unions have taken a promising route here by jointly setting up a digitisation fund to finance studies for laying the foundations of a socially acceptable digital transformation at SBB. The first study, in which I participated, was published in early September on Digital Day and is intended to pave the way for a new understanding of workplace cooperation between social partners.3,4 Specific measures will be drawn up over the next few months.

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Author: Shirley