The world is changing fast and so is the world of work. A key issue is the changing nature of the workplace itself and the critical role that the workplace has traditionally played in creating the collective experience that is the basis for collective action among working people. Because of the rapid rise of remote work and platform work across industries and sectors, workers are increasingly working alone, isolated from their co-workers. These changes are diminishing the collective experience and, in doing so, undermining the very basis for solidarity and collective action. As technological innovations continue to change the workplace, how can workers build voice and solidarity, and exercise collective agency? What spaces for democratic representation of gig and remote workers exist in the future workplace?
As part of the Centre’s activities in the research pillar on the ‘Transformation of work, inequalities and solidarities’ and its new video interview series, Maria Mexi, AHDC Research Fellow, interviewed Thorben Albrecht, Policy Director of IG Metall and Member of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work, on the challenges related to building new solidarities in a changing world of work. The interview delved into matters such as how the COVID-19 pandemic and technological innovations are transforming the workplace and affecting workers’ ability to build voice and exercise collective agency. The growth of the platform economy and gig work was particularly addressed, by discussing the spaces for democratic representation gig and remote workers, more broadly, can claim both at national and global levels.
Thorben Albrecht is the Policy Director of IG Metall, the German metalworkers' trade union, representing more than 2 million workers. He is an internationally acknowledged expert on the future of work and has been a member of the Global Commission on the Future of Work established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). From 2014 to 2018, Thorben Albrecht has been a Permanent State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Among his most important legislative projects has been the introduction of a statutory minimum wage in Germany. He also launched the 'Work 4.0' dialogue - a public dialogue of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on the future of work and quality jobs in the digital age.
LINK to the other video interviews.
READ ALSO our new commentary series on the need to redesign the platform economy on a more democratic and sustainable basis.