03 April 2019
Today, a TUAC high-level delegation met with the OECD Secretary General, the Slovakian chair of the upcoming Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) and OECD Ambassadors in Bratislava at the annual MCM Consultations with Business at OECD and TUAC. The meeting represents an important milestone in preparing this year´s MCM and the message from the TUAC was clear: Going digital? Go inclusive!
The coming MCM, which takes place on 22-23 May 2019, will focus on the digital transformation. Today, the TUAC called on the OECD and governments to ensure that the outcome of the 2019 MCM lays out an ambitious policy roadmap for a just transition to the digitalisation of our economies.
Digital transformation strategies should not be designed top-down by government executives. Parliaments, other democratic institutions, civil society organisations and social partners need to be fully involved to make it a truly inclusive process. Governments together with social partners need to design just transition frameworks for workers and within that design investment packages, expand social-protection systems, secure quality jobs and training, ensure the same rights for all forms of work, and take a human-centric approach to the digital transformation. All of this should be synched with ambitions to move to low-carbon economies.
In Bratislava today, TUAC highlighted the importance of reversing the long-term increase in inequalities and strengthen collective bargaining. In his statement, TUAC Secretary General Pierre Habbard, further noted that in the short term, the OECD should urgently propose a fiscal policy package that responds to the current demand-side weakness.
It is true that the digital transformation offers unprecedented opportunities for growth, well-being, and sustainable development. However, for digital change to benefit everyone, policy makers need to take steps to close the North-South, the gender and the urban-rural divides through investment plans and dedicated skills and spatial policies. Citizens, including workers, must be protected against risks arising from de-regulated cross-border data flows but also from authoritarian government practices that may threaten their right to privacy and more broadly their citizen rights. This also requires a more critical approach on corporate-governance practices and taxation in the digital economy in order to secure more business transparency, accountability and sustainable growth.
The coming MCM will be an important one. The downside risks of the digital transformation are substantial and must be addressed in order to harvest the opportunities and ensure sustainable growth. For the TUAC the way forward is clear. The policy discussion on digital transformation at the MCM must be framed in the broader context of growth models that ten years after the crisis have failed to halt the rise in inequalities and of rising risks to international co-operation and to our democratic institutions. Or, as summarized by Pierre Habbard: “The foundation of the digital transformation must be the just transition framework. When going digital – we must also go inclusive.”
The TUAC delegation at the OECD 2019 MCM Consultation in Bratislava