Land transport modes come together to discuss digitalisation and automation

8 Feb 2020

For the first time, the ETF land transport sections came together in Bratislava, on 5-6 February 2020, to discuss the topic of digitalisation and automation within the scope of ETF’s “ETF Automation & Digitalisation Toolkit (EADT)” project.

During the two day seminar, trade unions organising railway, urban public transport and road transport workers discussed the impacts of digitalisation and automation on employment in their sectors and how they can actively shape digital transformation. The participants further exchanged views with the project researcher, Lionel Fulton (Labour Research Department), on the draft toolkit being developed within the framework of the EADT project.

Discussions made clear that workers are facing similar problems in all land transport modes. Trade unions must be involved in every step of the way to ensure that workers’ rights are respected in the era of digitalisation and automation.

Together the participants identified specific issues that we, as trade unions will have to keep an eye on:

  • Automation and digitalisation must be social and human
  • Changed job profiles should not have a negative impact on pay
  • Changes must take into account the different needs of a diverse workforce (gender, age, familiarity with new technologies)
  • The transition needs to be accompanied by continuous training
  • Ensure data protection and privacy of employees
  • Working time issue – blurring of private and working life due to digitalisation and being reachable and connected 24/7
  • Working conditions – possible health and safety issues due to the increase in work intensity and use of new tech which generates stress

Land transport workers and trade unionists from across Europe all agreed that trade unions are the only ones who fight for the social rights of workers. We will continue to carry our membership with us, reflect the diversity of the workforce and ensure that no one is left behind!