The German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs coined the term ‘Work 4.0’ in the context of the dialogue – that started early in Germany – on how society will work in the future. ‘Work 4.0’ does not only refer to the new technological developments of Industry 4.0, it stands for all the changes taking place in the whole of the working world and their implications for society.
Indeed, a silent revolution of the working world is being driven by technology, people and companies: we are currently experiencing a deep cultural shift, with new preferences emerging regarding the way in which work is conceived and organised.
The debate on WORK 4.0 has expanded with other countries and at the European level. It is currently one of the major priorities of European Commission and member states, through the new skills agenda and other policy interventions, as these issues are not only of primary concern to business leaders and political decision makers, but also to the current workforce, youth and families.
In Portugal, Italy and Spain, as in some other countries of the European Union, the opinion concerning the future of work, in the current context of a fast-growing technological environment, is still significantly sceptical and fearful due, mainly, to a lack of appropriate information. For instance, there seem to be a common assumption that automation will bring upon long-term unemployment, when it can actually promote the creation of jobs upstream and downstream of manufacturing, turning skills and capacities such as planning, coordinating, strategy, informing, directing, managing, and many others, increasingly valuable. Furthermore, the media has been exploring such fears, contributing to spreading biased and misconceived ideas on the matter.
In addressing the Work 4.0 topic, the goal of the COTEC EUROPE SUMMIT 2018, by gathering, on 7 February 2018, at the Convento de Mafra, the representatives of Portugal, Italy and Spain, COTEC organisations, their stakeholders and EU institutions is to contribute to the strengthening of an emerging dialogue among a wide range of stakeholders and decision makers – business, Unions and other worker representatives, Policy makers, Government Officers, Academics – on how we want to shape the work of the future, in all its breadth and diversity, in a way which benefits people and companies and advances the economy at the European Union level.
Hopefully the debate will give rise to the spreading of the appropriate awareness and information and enable all stakeholders to take stock of the current priorities and policy agenda of the EU and COTEC countries and suggest solutions for Europe.
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