A reflection on smart working and the role of the union
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
The bill that opens the country’s doors to agile work (AS no. 2233 – A), the so-called smart working, presents the union with an important challenge. That of making this new job a means of reconciling life and work times for workers, productivity for businesses. With respect to the first objective, the union is called to put the worker in a position to perform the work performance outside the company, or in places, times and in ways compatible with personal and family needs, within precise protection standards. In fact, the bill thinks only in part and therefore leaves some knots unresolved. It is not clear, for example, what happens to the “agile” worker who is the victim of an accident, not on the journey between the home and the workplace outside the “chosen” company, but on the occasion of a trip for leisure purposes or, more simply, the journey that takes him to the supermarket during which, however, he also works on mobile devices.
The definition of the limits of individual bargaining is lacking, enabled by the bill to regulate aspects of agile work and, conversely, those of company bargaining, also with respect to cases in which the worker, in tête-à-tête with the employer of work, has accepted discounted conditions. The question on the tax regime remains open since the remuneration of the “agile” worker is considered to be productivity and is therefore subject to the flat-rate tax of 10% within the maximum limit of € 2,500.00 instead of the entire tax reduction of some of its shares which it would be possible if a welfare purpose was recognized for agile work. Finally, it is not clear how the right to disconnect is made effective. Moreover, the doubt arises that the worker will really give up processing an overtime request from his employer. With respect to the productivity objective, the union is called to be an active part in the organizational remodeling of companies that resort to agile work. union-_b_11772740.html
Because, as the nobel Bob Solow teaches, productivity increases are the effect of the combination of technology, such as that which made agile work a reality, and company organization. And so, the union will have to ask some questions. Let’s see some of them. Are the professional figures of traditional collective agreements compatible in a company where man works closely with the automaton or in a new situation with strong specificities? How to get the best possible result from the combination of human and robotic work, or what economist Weitzman calls the effect of recombinant growth? What stages of the production process will disappear? Amazon, for example, through the use of big data, will soon be able to predict customer orders twenty-four hours in advance and therefore do without the staff who are now assigned to receive them. What elements will the remuneration of the agile worker have to be made of, given that those connected to the traditional idea of work will lose meaning and, above all, will affect for the first time how much the worker will be able to work well with robots? For the union, this is basically the challenge of recovering the role of strategic player for workers and for the company. Moreover, thanks to the elimination of article 20 from the bill, all unions and not only those that are comparatively more representative at national level are called to put their hand to regulation on agile work. Above all, for the union it is the challenge that offers him the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to adapt to modernity and therefore that the crisis, which has fallen in recent years, has been only one of the many phases of a life that has long prospect. this article has been published on: http://www.huffingtonpost.it/ciro-cafiero/smart-working-