Focus on social partners: the impact of digital transformation
As part of the “Factory of the Future” project, key social partner IG Metall plays a vital role in helping to shape and integrate sustainable technology and workplace designs. This process involves various questions regarding employment relationships, the protection of employees, and co-determination. Read on to find out about IG Metall's approaches, projects, and opinions on Industry 4.0.
Does the path of digitalisation lead to a brave new world of work?
Since the beginning of 2012, IG Metall has been involved in the Industry 4.0 working group to positively shape the new organisation of work and workplace design. In his book on work 4.0 (“Arbeit 4.0”) published in 2015, former IG Metall chairman Detlev Wetzel describes how digitalisation is transforming the world of work. Industry, science, and the federal government expect that the end-to-end networking of production will boost Germany’s global competitiveness and help develop new markets. However, with the “fourth revolution”, a whole range of activities will also become obsolete. What exactly does this mean for the employees concerned? In an economy that is evolving faster and faster, employees are expected to be more and more flexible, given that ever shorter innovation cycles and new technologies require them to develop their skills and competences on a continuous basis. Since well-qualified employees have better prospects than people with a low level of education and training, learning institutions from schools through to corporate vocational training and continuing professional development must make every effort to provide the required qualifications. In addition, continuing education opportunities must be available.
The white paper on work 4.0 (“Arbeiten 4.0”) as a starting point for protecting employees
The white paper on work 4.0 (“Weißbuch Arbeiten 4.0”) presented by Federal Minister of Labour Andrea Nahles was prepared in cooperation with works council members and experts of IG Metall and includes initial suggestions for shaping a digital world of work that is safe, secure, and fair and integrates all groups of employees. Among other measures, the white paper proposes a gradual transformation of the unemployment insurance into an employment insurance scheme under which employees who are at risk of losing their jobs are fostered and advised on suitable continuing education opportunities.
Interview with Constanze Kurz on work in Industry 4.0 (“Arbeiten in der Industrie 4.0”)
In an interview, Dr Constanze Kurz, who until recently headed the “future of work” (“Zukunft der Arbeit”) portfolio at IG Metall and then joined Robert Bosch GmbH, also emphasises the importance of continuing education opportunities and says that technology and workplace design must be considered together: to adapt workflows, involve employees in the organisation of work, and therefore make work better, more interesting, and more responsible.
Opinions on Industry 4.0 from IG Metall
Christiane Benner, deputy leader of IG Metall, on work 4.0
An interview given during the VDMA (German mechanical engineering industry association) congress on work 4.0, “Alles bleibt anders” (Everything remains different)
Industry 4.0 explained by IG Metall
Industry and work 4.0 maturity level map
The maturity level map was designed by the North-Rhine Westphalia regional committee of IG Metall and illustrates ongoing developments towards Industry 4.0. It is currently used by eight companies of the leading-edge cluster “it`s OWL” (short for Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe). Each functional area on the maturity level map is colour-coded to show the current level of automation and networking of corporate processes.
Our aim is to exploit the potential of digitalisation, putting people first.