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Informal meeting of employment and social policy ministers

19.07.2018 - 20.07.2018
Vienna, Austria Center Vienna
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On 19 and 20 July 2018 the Informal meeting of employment and social policy ministers (informal EPSCO) will gather all respective EU ministers, the European Commission, the European social partners and others to discuss upcoming challenges from new forms of work, based on an increasing digitalisation on European labour markets. These new forms of work – such as platform or click work – imply new chances for workers and employers, but also uncertainties for social protection and labour standards.

With the emergence of platform work, labour markets all over Europe are experiencing fundamental changes in terms of access, employment, and regulations. During the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection will focus on discussing solutions for workers and employers as well as on new technological developments, such as robotics, which is predicted to further influence daily work routines.

To address the above described matters, the informal EPSCO 2018 in Vienna will address two main topics.

19 July 2018

On 19 July ministers and experts will discuss “New forms of work with a focus on platform work – social and legal protection” with contributions from Beate Hartinger-Klein (Austrian Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection),  Marianne Thyssen (EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility), Matthias Horx, (futurologist, trend researcher and management consultant), Juan Menéndez-Valdés (Director of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) and Isabel Caño Aguilar (Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee).

Numerous countries have launched initiatives to integrate platform work into their national labour markets. This informal meeting will look at different approaches, listen to experts from the field and discuss possible solutions to adapt these new forms of work to existing standards.

20 July 2018

On 20 July the topic will be “Robotics: impact on quantity and quality of work” with additional contributions from Horst Pichler (Head of Research Group on Cognitive Robotics, Joanneum Research), Marianne Thyssen (EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility), Stefano Scarpetta (Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs of the OECD), Christa Sedlatschek (Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work) and Beate Hartinger-Klein (Austrian Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection).

More and more worksteps can be automated or be done by robots. In certain areas this is helpful, as it can reduce physical effort. But it may also lead to dependence on robots, comprehensive surveillance of workers and thus increased stress. On the second day participants will therefore discuss “Robotics, chances and challenges for the quality of work”.

The informal meeting will be complemented by an exhibition, showing for example recent developments in digitalisation and robotisation. The exhibition will feature demonstrations of the following projects: the “Hobbit Project” (the Viennese technical university TU Wien), the 4D-Joystick (the Competence Network Information Technology to Support the Integration of People with Disabilities), Panda the robot (JOANNEUM RESEARCH), the Mobile Lorm Glove (the Design Research Lab (DRLab) at Berlin University of the Arts), Qwiek.up, and the FLipMouse (the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Technikum Wien).

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