Although digital technologies are expected to bring about long-term positive employment effects, no one can question the like lihood of continuing job losses in traditional manufacturing sectors, where the decline started already in the 1970s as the demand for manufactured goods began shrinking, nergy prices escalated, and Western companies’ main reactions took the form of automation and outsourcing. To mitigate this negative trend, if reversing it is unlikely, it has been argued that European manufacturing needs to aim for higher value added activities and services, that are technology-intensive and require workers’ reskilling and upskilling.
To deal with this challenge, workers’ reps should ask for more transparency in information and consultation processes, that should start on due time to allow them to participate with management in decision-making on large industrial plans, encompassing the introduction of new technologies and the analysis of their related impact on work.
Moreover, at the local or national cross-sectoral level, better and shared solutions are demanded to ensure smooth occupational transitions of workers made redundant as a result of structural changes.
The Employment Transition Fund for Swedish Blue-Collar Workers
In 2004, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation for blue-collars (Landsorganisationen i Sverige – LO) and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) concluded an agreement to establish support measures in case of redundancies for shortage of work. In that occasion, the Employment Transition Fund (Trygghetsfonden – TSL) was constituted as a joint body in charge of executing the agreement. TSL is one of the 10 Job Security Councils in Sweden, established by social partners and financed by employers with the aim of anticipating and managing structural changes. TSL’s solutions encompass guidance to workers in the search for a new job, the start-up of a new business and the enrolment in educational paths. When needed, TSL can also provide for short vocational training courses and the validation of professional knowledge and skills to sustain people’s employability. TSL’s solutions apply to all workplaces facing restructuring and covered by a collective agreement with a trade union federation affiliated to LO. Today, TSL’s chairman comes from the Swedish Metalworkers’ Organisation (IF Metall).
Further information at https://www.tsl.se.