Conference: Trade unions facing technological challenges

One week ago we presented together with Fundación COTEC and Comisiones Obreras our report “Trade Unions, Labour rights and Technological Change”. As a culmination of this first phase of the collaboration that we have been carrying out, we have presented the conclusions of this report in a conference on the digitization of work, that we have co-organized and in which we have invited experts in this field to share ideas and reflections.

Thus, there was a debate about which principles should guide the new public policies and regulations of the labor market to face this new reality, and the need for more studies to anticipate and quantify the impact of digitization on the future of work was highlighted. Faced with the extinction of distance, we reviewed new forms of union organization with the capacity to forge alliances beyond the workplace. There was also space for an in-depth discussion of the power relations that lie behind the technological deployments in the workplace and on how to protect and exercise digital rights so that technological progress benefits all parties involved. 

You can see a photo album of this conference here

We also recommend a couple of related articles. First, a must-read about the scope of digital rights in labor relations, such as this interview with Carlos Preciado, Magistrate of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, that was also participating in the conference “Trade unions facing technological challenges”. This interview was done by Carlos del Castillo for El Diario. And second, same author and same media, the article Un manual para sindicatos de la economía uberizada y robotizada (in English “A manual for unions in the uberized and robotic economy”) which reflects the conclusions of our report “Trade Unions, Labour rights and Technological Change”

And finally, we link you to this documentary video by Fundación COTEC on its project #MiEmpleoMiFuturo, which addresses some interesting considerations on what digitization is, automation in the field of work and what repercussions it can have.


9:30 am Welcome and presentation of the project

Unai Sordo

General Secretary of CCOO

Cristina Garmendia

President of the COTEC Foundation

Gemma Galdon

President of Eticas Foundation

10: 00 am Pass of the video documentary #MiEmpleoMiFuturo [#MyEmploymentMyFuture]

10: 30 am Presentation of the study “Trade Unions, Labour rights and Technological Change”

11.30 am The role of trade unions in the 21st century: platforms, machines and rights

Bruno Estrada

Economist, Deputy to the General Secretariat of CCOO

Henar Alvarez Cuesta

Professor of Labour Law and Social Security at the University of León

Maria Luz Vega

Coordinator of the ILO’s Future of Work Initiative

Lucia Velasco

Member of High-Level Expert Group on the Impact of the Digital Transformation on EU Labour Markets


13:00 New organisational strategies and tools for trade union action

Javier Fernandez

Union Action Secretariat of CCOO 

Amparo Merino

Member of the project “Fundamental rights in the face of the change of subordinate work in the digital age”

Oscar Molina Romo

Researcher on Labour Relations at the UAB Institute of Labour Studies

15:30h Digital rights at work: from the right to disconnect to conscientious objection

Jaime Cabezas

Professor of Labor Law and Social Security at the University of Vigo

Carlos Hugo Preciado

TSJ magistrate and author of the book “Los derechos digitales de las personas trabajadoras” [The digital rights of working people] 

Carlos Gutierrez

Secretary of Youth and New Realities of Work CCOO

Gemma Galdon

Technology Analyst and President of the Eticas Foundation