The digital transformation, long thought to adversely affect only low-skilled workers, has taken on a more ambiguous role in recent years: On the one hand, the rapid development of information and communication technology and its integration into ever more industries has been the driving force for an almost exponential growth of the sector. On the other hand, the global digital transformation as well as the liberalization of global labour markets have led to the outsourcing of labour to less protected and often underpaid contractors. Even leading ICT companies have started to downsize to maintain their competitiveness.
As a result, the sector has witnessed an unseen unionisation trend that has the potential to profoundly alter the face of the global labour movement. Mass layoff and the improvement of health and safety conditions at the workplace are the main drivers of this trend. But even beyond “bread and butter” issues, tech workers have started to rally around identity issues as well and have mobilised around broader social issues, such as climate change, social surveillance or structural racism, giving rise to talk about a “Tech Revolt” in the sector.
This online debate—a joint FES and UNI Global Union event and the 3rd session of the ongoing “Trade Unions in Transformation 4.0” debate series—engages with these recent and unprecedented unionizing trends among ICT employees and tech workers. Based on evidence from the TUiT 4.0 project as well as case studies from Israel, Romania and the bay area in the United States, we explore why and by which means tech workers, contrary to common assumptions, have started to organize their interest; how changes in the IT sector have become an opportunity for trade unions to reestablish their relevance in the new labor markets; and how the integration of socially conscious tech workers into traditional trade unions may have the potential to vitalise organized labour and promotes engagement with broader transformation processes.
The event will be translated simultaneously in English/French/Hebrew/Portuguese/Spanish and streamed live at: www.fes.de/lnk/transform.
To join us for the discussion please register with the link provided below.
Introduction and overview:
Moderators:Jannis Grimm & Anja Bodenmüller-Raeder, FES
We look forward to welcoming you! Live-Stream
No time to read the whole study? Then take time to read the short version: In English ¿No tienes tiempo para leer todo el estudio? Ahorra tiempo y mantente informado con este resumen: En español Pas le temps de lire toute l'étude ? Prenez ensuite le temps de lire le résumé En français
«Trade Unions in Transformation 4.0» is a FES-initiated project that aims to understand workers’ agency in digital capitalism. This project examines how trade unions and new organizations of workers build workers’ power to confront and shape the emerging new world of work in which capital uses digital technology to re-organize the production process and increasingly imposes ultra-flexible, precarious work models. FES aims to contribute to workers’ and trade unions’ reflections and strategies and offers cooperation for union transformation.
Subsequent sessions will explore how workers and unions shape transformations in industry, how tech workers start to become an exciting player in the labour movement, how transport workers resist the restructuring of their sector by platforms and what new tools and apps unions develop to increase their power in the digital economy.