Budapest, 24.11.2022. – Trade union members, officials and employers met to learn about and discuss studies on the effects of digitization in the world of work. A very lively discussion took place on current topics such as labor productivity and wages, the relationship between labor productivity and digitization, the development of artificial intelligence, and the future of jobs. The Vasas Trade Union Federation organized the seminar on the results of the study created in the framework of the European co-financed WorkTransitionCEE project, as well as on the recommendations, for employers, employees and political actors, developed on the basis of it.

The study was created in order to better prepare for the changes affecting the world of work, which changes are caused by the automation of the manufacturing industry, digitization, and the increasingly widespread use of smart technologies.

Officials from various sectors – metal industry, machinery, mining, meat industry, textile industry, retail – as well as national trade unions, associations, employers’ organizations and the expert who wrote the mentioned study discussed the future challenges of the digital transformation in Hungary. Avoiding falling behind, preserving competitiveness, and ensuring a just transition for everyone were formulated as goals.

Péter Vakhal, research director of the Kopint-Tárki Economic Research Institute, presented the study they prepared, which summarized the past, present and expected future effects of the current industrial transformation, including the expectations of Hungarian metal industry employers and employees. He also touched upon the conventions and expectations of various international organizations, which are related to digitalization. The study found that for now we cannot talk and in the short term we can’t expect massive job losses due to digitization. It was formulated as a danger that the educational sector is unable to train workers who ensure the country’s lagging behind in terms of competitiveness and establish a higher value for the creation of jobs. One of the most interesting parts of the presentation and the one that generated the most discussion was the one that looked at what skills the employees of the future will need.

In the afternoon, the participants of the seminar discussed with Balázs Bábel from Vasas and Adrienn Bálint from MGYOSZ, what are the biggest challenges and risks posed by digitalization, what are the biggest incentives and obstacles to its development for companies. In the current situation, when inflation rose to unprecedented levels, competitiveness, the relationship between added value and wages, the need for state intervention, or even its rejection, were particularly important issues. The question of future skills led to a lively discussion between participants about the education system and the need to transform it so that future employees can stand their ground in the digital world enter the labor market.

The aim of the seminar was for the participants to get to know the study prepared in the framework of the WorkTransitionCEE project and to get answers to their questions. The project is funded by the European Union and is based on the cooperation of social partners: Concordia (Romania), NBS (Romania), MGYOSZ (Hungary), Vasas (Hungary), RUZ (Slovakia), NKOS (Slovakia). In the framework of the project, the risks, challenges and opportunities that the so-called the fourth industrial revolution supports the labor market. The aim of the WorkTransitionCEE project is to strengthen the Romanian, Hungarian and Slovak social partners, thus playing an important role in filling the work during the transition to the new world and strengthening the European social dialogue, thus also helping the implementation of the European framework agreement on digitalisation, the preparation of social partners for the new world of work.