Digitalization, Automatization and Decarbonization: Opportunity for strengthening collective bargaining in the metal sector

The BARMETAL project seeks to analyse the current situation and opportunities for strengthening collective bargaining in the metalworking industry in conditions of technological change, including in particular digitalization, automatization and decarbonization. With this focus, the project directly responds to evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates the technology dissemination and the digital transformation of metal, engineering and tech-based industries and workplaces. It has increased the urgency and need for social partners to find joint approaches to manage a swift and sustainable digital transformation. Ceemet and IndustriAll Europe, the EU-level social partners in the metalworking industry, have published their joint vision of the challenges and opportunities of digitalization for workers and employers. The BARMETAL project responds to these challenges and EU-level priorities in sectoral social dialogue and deepens the expertise in industrial relations by analyzing both the bargaining processes and outcomes (stipulations in collective agreements) across 12 EU Member States and one candidate country. The project explores how the challenges for working conditions, such as intensification of work, vocational education and changing demands for workers’ skills in metalworking companies across the EU create opportunities for strengthening collective bargaining at the workplace and sector levels. The project places high priority on mutual exchange and learning tools among social partners between those member states that have a highly developed collective bargaining already and those where bargaining needs to be enhanced and strengthened. The BARMETAL project thus provides expertise for enhancing industrial relations and establishes extensive interaction and cooperation between research partners and social partners.