Federal Minister Hartinger-Klein: Technology and digitalisation must benefit people
Digitalisation of Work Conference – Fit for the challenges of digitalisation
“We must not forget that technology is not set in stone: we can shape the environment in which it operates. This is precisely why we do not need to adapt people to technology, but must instead promote technologies and overall conditions that support and empower us as humans,”
explained Federal Minister Beate Hartinger-Klein at the Digitalisation of Work Conference that took place in Vienna on 19 September 2018 under the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference was attended by representatives from the 28 EU member states, the EFTA States and numerous experts from European institutions and civil society.
For the Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection, the unclear employment status of platform workers with respect to their social protection and representative bodies is the greatest challenge to be overcome. This legal grey area affects all labour markets in Europe and involves different approaches, which is why “a European-wide regulation cannot be a solution in view of the variety of platforms in conjunction with the variety of social protection systems”, argued Hartinger-Klein, emphasising the importance of the principle of subsidiarity for the Austrian Presidency. She added that “the European Union should encourage its member states through the principles enshrined in the pillar of social rights to pursue active policies and take the requisite measures – and should promote learning through examples of best practice.”
The current situation in Austria was presented in a national report from a study by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Eurofound. According to this report, services such as food delivery or passenger transport are increasingly being provided via platforms such as Foodora, Uber and Lieferservice.at, especially in the Vienna region.
“In this regard, it is important to protect workers and ensure that advantages such as increased flexibility are not outweighed by potential disadvantages such as precarious income levels or job insecurity”,
underlined the Federal Minister.
In the process, she continued, competitiveness and securing our prosperity must be taken into account, which is why she is calling for active policies that recognise their challenges and regulatory options in line with the principle of subsidiarity.
Hartinger-Klein concluded by stating that the results of the conference are to be presented to the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council in December 2018.
Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection
Spokesperson for Federal Minister Beate Hartinger-Klein
+43 1 71 100-86 24 56