International Trade Union House, Brussels and online

Download here the programme

Download here the speakers' bios

Download the speakers' presentations by clicking on the title:

Digital transition in the EU recovery strategy Maria Teresa Fábregas Fernandez (Director, Recovery & Resilience Task Force, European Commission)

 - The AI Act, entering a regulatory winter? The need to expand perspectives Aida Ponce Del Castillo (Senior researcher, Foresight Unit, ETUI)

- Fairness and dignity in regulating EU platform workers Leïla Chaibi (MEP, GUE/NGL) - Taming the market power of digital businesses

– The Amazon case Nick Rudikoff (Campaigns director, UNI Global)

- Unveiling the subordination in the platform economy Anna Ginès Fabrellas (Professor, ESADE)

- Lessons from an anarchist perspective to the platform economy, Andrea Iossa (Senior lecturer, Kristianstad University) See here also his chapter "Anti-Authoritarian Employment Relations? Labour Law from an Anarchist Perspective" published in: Theorising Labour Law in a Changing World

- Preventing discrimination in algorithmic decision-making Miriam Kullmann (Assistant Professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

- Expanding the scope of labour rights: a paradigm shift Silvia Rainone (Researcher, ETUI and ELW Network)

-The Yodel case and its implications for platform workers’ rights Lord John Hendy QC (Barrister, UK)

- Defending collective rights of platform workers in courts Carlo De Marchis (Lawyer, Italy)

- The contribution of the GDPR to protect platform workers’ rights Anton Ekker (Lawyer, The Netherlands)

- Socializing digital work via the courts? Antonio Aloisi (Assistant Professor, IE Law School)

- Protecting platform workers’ rights in the digital economy Silvia Simoncini (National secretary NidiL Cgil)

- Raising a collective voice for platform workers Martin Willems (United Freelancers, acv-csc)

- Collective bargaining to address negative impact of labour market monopsony Séverine Picard (Progressive Policies)

- Unions’ strategy to contrast the market power of digital platform Annika Flaten (Director Commerce, UNI Europa)



About the conference

The impact of digitalisation on society and the world of work is growing and will only become more pervasive. But the transformation is a multifaceted one. We are simultaneously witnessing the emergence of new business models, such as platform and gig work, and the expansion of digital marketplaces and service providers with extraordinary market power (such as Amazon). Both evolutions entail profound changes to certain industries and to labour relations. At the same time, the introduction of AI in the workplace presents new issues with regards to surveillance and health and safety. To top it all, digitalisation has allowed employers to claim that workers now enjoy greater autonomy and are thus less in need of strong employment protection.

In the context of these transformational changes, how can we ensure that the digital transition does not occur at the expense of workers’ rights and conditions?

This conference proposes a multidimensional discussion on the role of labour law in this area and seeks to identify initiatives that have been taken, or could be taken, on various fronts:

  • EU policymaking: The von der Leyen Commission has made its intention clear to ensure that the digital transition takes place in a fair and just manner. Policymakers and experts will discuss the initiatives proposed by the European Commission and will assess their potential impact on the world of work.
  • The normative aspect: The transformative impact of technology calls for a theoretical reflection on how labour law can be adapted without losing its protective and emancipatory function with respect to workers' prerogatives. The panellists will present proposals on possible ways to ensure the relevance of labour law.
  • Case law: A trend of rulings in favour of ‘digital’ workers is emerging in the European courts, especially in the area of the platform economy. Legal practitioners and expert observers will discuss what lessons policymakers can draw from the recent jurisprudence.
  • Collective bargaining and trade unions: Digitalisation has accelerated changes in the distribution of bargaining power, leading to the emergence of companies with very strong market power as well as to the creation of many jobs that these companies consider to be in the sphere of ‘autonomous’ or ‘independent’ work. Representatives from the trade union world and experts in the field will explain the various challenges and opportunities for collective bargaining in this new world.

Interpretation available in and from English, French, Italian and German.

Twitter hashtags for this event: #DigitalTransition #LabourLaw