On 8 March 2021, the European MET social partners, Ceemet and IndustriAll Europe held the meeting of the working group on “Competitiveness & Employment” of their Social Dialogue Committee. At this meeting, the social partners dealt with the following issues: platform work, strengthening EU social dialogue and Artificial Intelligence.

A round table of national developments on the topic of platform work followed a Commission presentation on the first phase consultation of social partners on improving the working conditions of platform work that runs until 7 April 2021.  The round table made clear that platform work is currently not a sector specific issue for the MET industries. Indeed, platform work is practically not impacting the MET industries. Ceemet would, however, prepare its response to this social partner consultation.

Ms. Andrea Nahles, Special Advisor to Commissioner Schmit for European social dialogue, gave a presentation on the main outcomes of her report on “How to strengthen EU social dialogue”. The Nahles report has been developed with the contributions of social partners including Ceemet and industriAll input.  Andrea Nahles presentation was followed by questions of the participants as well as with input and comments on how they see EU social dialogue and how its functioning could be improved. Participants also insisted on the need to support social dialogue at national level.

Finally, and for the first time, Ceemet & industriAll Europe addressed the topic of Artificial Intelligence, that raises concerns on how to deploy its uptake while addressing, at the same time, the ethical challenges that the use of this technology entails.  Participants to the meeting pointed out that in general big companies are using AI solutions but SMEs are still very unaware of the benefits that the use of AI can bring and are not implementing it in their day-to-day business.

Presentations on the topic of AI were given by Mr. Thomas Wyszynski (VP Analytics & AI at Schneider Electric) and Ms. Inese Podgaiska (General Secretary of the Association of Nordic Engineers). Mr.  Wyszinski explained that most of business will be heavily affected by AI since this is more than a technology and it is transforming the way we take decisions. He further pointed out that AI needs a clear governance and that the ethical challenges linked to AI need to be addressed.  Inese Podgaiska insisted on the role that workers representatives and trade unions should have in the discussions around the deployment of AI in companies.