The European Trade Union Confederation and Institute (ETUC and ETUI) held a three-day symposium in Brussels recently at which trade unionists, policy makers and academics brainstormed about initiatives that will be needed to cope with four global mega trends that are radically changing the world of work.

Organizers of the event say that decarbonisation (changing energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), digitalisation, globalisation and demographic change cannot simply be left to market forces.

“Change must benefit everybody” said Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary “Working people cannot be left behind.  It is not enough to enthuse about the opportunities or complain about the risks. The impacts have to be anticipated and managed by all – governments and authorities at all levels, EU institutions, employers and unions. These changes can neither be left to the market nor dealt with separately. There has to be one proactive, coordinated and coherent response.

“Trade unions are working for quality jobs, equal rights and decent pay for all – we cannot accept there can be ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in the world of work.”   

ETUI Director Philippe Pochet said the four megatrends will profoundly change the world of work. “A number of futures are possible, but we have to act to shape the one we want to live in.”

Among the attendees at “The world(s) of work in transition” conference were Ministers and European Commissioners.

The ETUI has issued 5 new publications related to the changing nature of work:

All are available on ETUI website: