Future of Work calls for wider participation: Lessons from Germany

The future of work offers new opportunities but then challenges are not far behind. Globalisation, technological advancements and demographic changes are impacting the labour markets and society at large. It is important to evolve policies that are able to manage transition with least possible disruptive impact and the potential benefits maximized. People and not profit should be at the centre of economic policy formulation.

Dialogue with all stakeholders is necessary to chalk out a road map and for setting the policy framework for a digital economy. Also investment is required on research and technology to make technological progress relevant to our work and lives. Thought provoking inputs from the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. Photo: FES

The delegation met and spoke to German Parliamentarians representing a wide spectrum of political decision making. The discussion focused on the future of work. The delegates were also able to visit the Parliament building and the dome to end a spectacular day! Photo: FES

In recent times, the topic of future of work has generated immense interest among various cross-sections of the society. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) accords priority to this topic and has commissioned studies to look at it from various perspectives. The FES believes in healthy exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing among different stakeholders on future of work and in the process transcending geographical boundaries. 

In pursuit of this objective of FES, a six-member delegation representing workers’ organizations, labour institutes and labour practitioners from India visited Germany from 08 to 14 September 2019. During this week-long visit, the delegation held several meetings with different stakeholders, including workers’ organisations, research / academic institutions, concerned government ministry and policymakers. The detailed interactions with these varied stakeholders helped in developing the delegation’s understanding on various approaches to the topic being adopted in Germany. However, what was important is that different opinions were being collated and stakeholder consultations organised as a step towards consensus building. 

The delegation felt that the level of preparedness and sincerity was quite inspiring. In one of the meetings, it was informed that the gig economy is still in its formative stage in Germany, yet policymakers had already initiated the process of developing an over-arching policy to regulate the gig economy before it grows uncontrollably. 

Mr. G B Gawde, Director of Ambekar Institute of Labour Studies observed that “The visit has made it quite obvious that dialogue with all stakeholders is necessary to chalk out a road map and for setting the policy framework for a digital economy.” 

The visit ended on a high note with the visiting delegation’s interaction with some German Parliamentarians who gave some insights into the policy framework currently being evolved in Germany with the participation of the industry, workers’ organisations and the government. 

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