miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2016

The human factor in a dignified digitalised labour market

The digital economy is accelerating the change of the nature of work. This changes are summing up in the "OECD employment oulook 2016". The average incidence of part-time employment has increased from 2000 in the OECD area (13,9% vs 16,8%) and the same has happened with the involuntary part-time employment (1,8% vs 3,5%). Another interesting piece of data is the general increase of expected monetary loss associated with becoming and staying employed as a share of previous earnings in the OECD area. 

The OECD recognises in the above mentioned report a "labour market insecurity increase". This environment paves the way to the race to the bottom in wages, especially in the so-called gig economy jobs. Weak trade unions and the decrease of the contact among workers looks as the right environment for a return to the Victorian Britain job conditions. This have been the case in UK with Deliveroo, where they have tried to introduce even more draconian contract conditions. An unexpected coordinated action from the workers has turned the tide and set an example for other workers.

Automation of jobs could bring further labour market insecurity in some sectors. This is the case of hired drivers. Ford has announced the mass-production of autonomous car for a commercial ride-sharing service by 2021. But we do not have to wait so longer, the Helsinki Council is introducing self-driving buses. Nevertheless, another recent case give us some clue of the strategy in the short-term to dissolve the resistance of workers: pay workers for not working. This is the case of the self-driving cars introduced by Uber in the Pittsburgh trial, where human-drivers has been introduced as backup. But some Uber drivers do not forgot the long-term uber intentions: Replacing all its drivers with self-driving carsUber drivers in Pittsburgh are begining to ask about their future and to think in coordinated actions to endanger the test.

The cases of the Deliveroo bikers in London or the Uber Drivers in Pittsburgh points in the only direction to gain a future dignified for workers: recovering the solidarity among workers. The human factor can still make the difference.

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