Report on the 4th Stakeholder Forum Workshop in Brussels 2023
The EU H2020 project WE-TRANSFORM aims at creating a policy agenda to prepare for the automation transition and the related transformation of the workforce in the transport sector. To do so, WE-TRANSFORM wants to establish an effective dialogue with all parties involved, including workers and employers across all transport modes, and leverage stakeholders’ knowledge and experiences in order to co-create an action-oriented policy agenda.
The first phase of the project focused on analysing the state-of-the-art and initial stakeholders’ input regarding barriers to digitalization, the negative and positive impacts on workers, and their skills, but also existing initiatives to facilitate the transition.
The project has now started the assessment of the social impact of automation on the transport labour force, addressing the requirements from a legal perspective and the scenarios for the transformation of the role of the workforce.
4th Stakeholder Forum Workshop workshop aims to inform on the project progress to date and propose three topics for discussion and co-creation, namely:
(1) the legal perspective of the expected impacts;
(2) scenarios for the workforce transformation and preparation for the automation transition;
(3) implications and solutions for the Agenda policy actions.
For this workshop, we were targeting policymakers, workforce organizations, trade unions, and transport operators across all transport modes. We are also inviting representatives from other sectors to join the discussion, such as banking or tourism, forerunners in the digital transition. As a result, we reached 75 stakeholders such as Mercedes-Menz, Airbus, European Commission, Renault Trucks, EMT Valencia, Fundacion Valenciaport, POLITO, University of Aegean, POLIS, ERTICO, TSI, University of Surrey, Business Tampere, Hellenic Train, IRU, Varna Municipality, AustriaTech and many more.
The workshop started with the opening words by Pedro Alfonso Pérez Losa from the European Commission on #transportation #automation and #digitalisation critical value in the modern world and how WE-TRANSFROM stir the collective intelligence to make a transition easier for the sector and its' workers. This speech was followed by the project introduction, general implication exploration, and project achievement representation by Cristina Pronello from the University of Torino, Italy.
Afterward, all stakeholders took part in the 2 breakout sessions rounds in smaller groups, led by the consortium leaders.
Here is a small uncover of the popular opinions and thoughts among stakeholders:
Future scenarios for reskilling
- Skill of interconnectivity and complexity of the systems – system mistake and malfunction
- Equity in data science
- Lack of leadership and management competence in technical areas
- Lack of English knowledge
- Lack of constant training and adaptive reskilling, as evolution is too fast – must be a continuous process for all
Satisfied workforce – support and happiness
- Digitalisation and automation must be adapted to workers, not vice versa, that workers adapt to new technologies
- Evolution shift - works less = more results
- Technical innovations must follow what people want
- Critical situations require people involvement and people-to-people interaction
- Cyber security issue that fails the whole ecosystem
- Resilience problem – 78 key actions in thematic areas – resilience group
- The health of workers – screen and figures, lack of concentration
Sustainable companies – sustainable relations
- Emphasize equity and diversity, work for all
- Adapt technologies to the people's needs, wants to make it easier for people
- Focus on the workers' will
- Stop using technologies to cut expenses
Solid regulations – what is missing
- Lack of regulation in cybersecurity, no GDPR rules, etc.
- Lack of regulation on constant reskilling
- A voluntary policy is not an option. The policy must predict the future situation, set conditions that fit us and explicitly state trends, and set rules to regulate it. (considering satisfaction and sustainability for citizens and for workers)
- We must guide the transformation
- Transportation sector does not predict the risks connected to disruption and exceptional situations
As a result, WE-TRANSFORM consortium will prepare several deliverables stating all the suggestions and opinions gathered through the focus group discussion and stakeholder workshops. Thus, stay tuned for the upcoming publications!
In general, the 4th Stakeholder Forum Workshop proved to be an effective knowledge gainer, providing valuable insights from various mobility and transportation sectors. Stakeholders emphasized:
- on the importance of cooperation with workers to find actions that will be given in the policy agenda to the EU commission to anticipate future changes
- on tackling irresponsibility of autonomous vehicles regulation and lack of incentives to regulate the market
- on lack of exchange of information between the autonomous system and humans (legal issue and human factor)
- on competition between modes, which will lead to increased costs for public transportation in comparison to private
- on national and local training guarantee
- on life-work balance shift that must dictate regulations for workers
- on post-covid environment adaptability with tangible KPIs, tasks, and deadlines
- on unfair competition of dumping in transportation
- and many other challenges that the industry faces currently and will face in the nearest automated and digitalised future