At today’s “Remote Work: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities” High Level Conference Ceemet President Rainer Ludwig explained that it is important to differentiate new forms of work, such as platform work, from new ways of working, such as remote work. These 2 concepts raise different challenges due to the different status of a “remote worker” who is a worker simply working outside the physical location of the office and of a person working within the platform economy.

Portuguese Presidency conference dedicated to the future of work

More and more flexible forms of work are part of what will be the future of work. The Portuguese Presidency took the initiative to organise today’s high level conference looking particularly at the role of remote work. Ceemet President Rainer Ludwig was invited to provide industry view in the session on i.a. social dialogue and collective bargaining for these new forms of work.

Different forms of work will emerge, for different needs

Rainer Ludwig highlighted during his speech that decisions related to the planning of working time, including remote work, must be taken at sector or company levels in order to correspond to economic and social realities.

Though new forms of work, such as platform work, are not impacting so much the MET industries, he acknowledged, that these new forms of work might nevertheless raise challenges related to collective representation and bargaining of these new actors. However, he emphasized, it is up to autonomous and representative social partners to discuss and agree on how to potentially attract and better represent the news actors of the platform economy and start-ups.

During his speech, Rainer Ludwig mentioned in particular:

  • The different status of digital related activities
  • Some of the challenges linked to the emergence of platform work
  • The role of social partners and of social dialogue
  • The importance of the agreements reached between management and trade union representatives during lockdowns to put in place adequate sanitary protocols in order to ensure safety of productions workers.

He concluded by saying that “Remote work and platform work for example don’t raise the same questions and thus cannot be given the same answers.

Council Conclusions

One of the main objectives of the High-Level Conference was to provide input to the European Council conclusions to be adopted on remote work in June 2021.

Bringing in his experience as Ford Cologne’s HR Director and concrete industry sector examples, Rainer Ludwig suggested that solutions could be best found as close as possible to the workfloor, where the question arises. For this reason, he called on national policy makers to leave the necessary room for manoeuvre for social partners to cope with the challenges related to a digitalised world of work. Indeed, they are closer to the needs of companies and workers and are more capable of providing with more innovative tailor-made solutions.  

Rainer Ludwig ended his intervention saying that the discussion – as held during the conference – should go on. New ways of working and new forms of work will continue to develop.


High-Level Conference - The Programme
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