The conference was attended by a large number of delegations of AICESIS member ESC-SIs, social dialogue institutions from non-AICESIS member countries, as well as representatives of international organizations and a large delegation from the ILO, chaired by the Director of its Social Dialogue and Tripartism Unit. During the opening session, the President of the Greek ESC, Mr Vernicos, the President of the European ESC, Mr Dassis, the AICESIS President, Mr Baciu (President of the Romanian ESC), the Director of the ILO Social Dialogue and Tripartism Unit, Mr. Oumarou, as well as the Minister of Labor of Greece and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs took the floor. In his speech, the President of AICESIS recalled the concordance of the many topics that would be discussed at the conference with the main working theme of the presidency "The impact of the digital revolution on the future of humanity".
The work of the Conference was based on a preliminary report, prepared by the organizers based on the answers given by the ESC-SIs to a questionnaire distributed months before the conference. This document, in addition to guiding the debates, contains very interesting information on how ESC-SIs approach the future of work, in terms of procedures and results, and, more generally, on the role of the partners regarding socio-economic transformations in progress. From the point of view of AICESIS, it is particularly interesting to highlight the broad consensus of the ESC-SIs on the role of the Association as facilitator, in collaboration with the ILO, to exchange experiences and good practices between ESC-SIs and thus contribute to building their capacities, and be able to adopt a more proactive role in debates on the future of work.
During the discussions, it was interesting to establish three types of interventions or analyzes.
- The first on the identification of the main factors of change affecting the future of work: development of globalization, technological change, climate change, demographic changes. Although there is almost unanimity in this area, it should be noted that differences in the assessment of the degree of impact of each factor were observed, strongly influenced by the different socio-economic characteristics of the countries.
- The second analysis relates to actions to be developed to ensure that changes in work are produced in such a way as to combine economic efficiency with equity and social cohesion. In this area, the balancing role of social dialogue was unanimously stressed, which would be essential to incorporate into political decision-making processes with an intensity that, in the years of the crisis, was weakened in many cases. Numerous references have been made to the need to improve knowledge of this type of phenomenon, the diversity of its causes and also its effects, as well as the diversity of national practices and policies in this area. All this is linked to the idea of adopting anticipatory approaches, among which, for example, those which refer to the adjustment of qualifications.
- Third, beyond the more concrete issues related to changes in the world of work, there are more generic ideas that need to be considered for an in-depth analysis: the limitations of the national frameworks to understand these phenomena and, therefore, act on them; interconnection between the different major factors of work change, between these and with other major social trends (climate change and sustainable development, demography and migration...), the need to overcome the analysis on the future of work which considers this future as the mechanical result, almost fatal, of a series of external and unmanageable factors. It has been said that the future of work will have to be discussed in order to shape the world of work of the 21st century, and Bergson's quote was recalled "The future is not what will happen, but what we will do it.
At the end of the Conference, all participants adopted the Athens Declaration on Social Dialogue and the Future of Work of the ESC-SIs in which the ESC-SIs expressed their wish for greater involvement in the national debates on the future of work and proposed to support the exchange of their knowledge, experiences and good practices in relation to actions aimed at shaping the future of work.
Photos of the conference https://www.flickr.com/photos/150103814@N08/albums/72157666841075899