UNI GS tells more than 700 Argentinian affiliates, that an inclusive future must include both digital innovation and good jobs
Last week, UNI affiliates in Argentina held a meeting for their activists and members in Buenos Aires to consider the topic how to make the digital economy work for all. Under the theme An Inclusive Future, more than 700 people packed out the conference hall, eager to join in the conversation. One of the biggest takeaways from the event was that digital innovation and good jobs must go hand-in-hand to create a new world of work, based on equality and fairness.
In her opening remarks, UNI Global General Secretary, Christy Hoffman stressed the need to face the digital future with determination. She said that reports of the death of work in the new digital economy were grossly exaggerated. However, Hoffman also addressed the challenges ahead.
She said, “The growth of non-standard, or informal and insecure work, is a far bigger concern. We see this growth of precarious work in many of UNI sectors, in part enabled by new technologies allowing companies to exert more control over the pace and organisation of work and also because of weak regulation and labour market institutions.”
Hoffman cited the Report of the Global Commission on the Future of Work, commissioned by the ILO, which addresses many of the concerns outlined by the UNI GS and recommends a human-centred approach with a new and reinvigorated social contract at its core.
Hoffman concluded, “It’s fabulous that more than 700 UNI activists have come together to discuss jobs and digitalisation. It’s testament to their dedication and passion for this subject. Together we will ensure that workers’ rights are enshrined in the digital world of work and in all our sectors affected by technological innovation.”
Following Hoffman’s remarks, leaders of UNI’s Argentinian affiliates came forward to report how digital technology was impacting on negotiating.
Sergio Omar Pallazzo, General Secretary of finance union Asociación Bancaria, stressed the need to regulate technology, retrain workers in new software and systems as well as regulate outsourcing. He also underlined the importance of finding solutions at the political level to ensure good jobs in the future.
Leonardo Cardinale, General Secretary of the property services union, SOMRA, gave an excellent example of cleaners having been trained in new machines to professionalise the industry, resulting in additional jobs in the sector. He recounted his union’s efforts to formalize the sector through providing incentives for workers to become registered and trained. Only 2-3% of the industry’s work is performed through platforms.
In the media sector, Horacio Arreceygor, General Secretary of SATSAID reported that digitalization has resulted in the increase of employment in the television and film sector from 9,000 a few years ago to 35,000 today.
And in FAECYS, the commerce union, Secretary for Collective Bargaining, Daniel Lovera reported that his union has managed to protect the jobs of highway toll collectors whose work had been digitalized. Lovera said FAECYS was successfully organising in e-commerce, too.
President of UNI Global Union, Ruben Cortina, and other speakers also reported both complex and practical approaches to the impact of technology.
Hector Daer, Deputy General Secretary of FATSA and the President of UNI Americas, pictured below with the UNI GS, closed the conference, remarking on the need to find an alternative to getting back to the possibility of a more just country for workers.