No digitalisation without representation

An analysis of policies to empower labour in the digital workplace

Policy Study


Power at work is increasingly embedded in – and exercised through – the way data is collected and then used via algorithm systems. This trend has accelerated since the Covid-19 pandemic. While this shift can – in theory – support the quality of work, at present it seems to mainly facilitate expanding surveillance and control of the workforce.

To change this and ensure a digital transition that is socially sustainable, workers and their representatives need to help shape the digital infrastructure that determines how they carry out their work. The problematic question is: how?

The Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), together with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Fondation Jean-Jaurès, the Fundación Pablo Iglesias, and the Fondazione Pietro Nenni, explores possible answers in the policy study “No digitalization without representation. An analysis of policies to empower labour in the digital workplace”.

The study offers a set of recommendations for EU institutions and the Member States, for Data Protection Authorities and trade unions, works councils and shop stewards.

The focus lies on how to fully implement and make better use of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at the workplace. Beyond that, the study pays attention to workers’ collective rights across the EU, as well as the potential of upcoming EU legislation on data governance and algorithmic systems(‘AI’).

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Fondation Jean-Jaurès
Fondazione Pietro Nenni
Fundación Pablo Iglesias
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In Social Europe' article, Gerard Rinse Oosterwijk, FEPS Policy Analyst on Digital, talks about the efforts to regulate AI undertaken by the EU and highlights the importance to grasp this opportunity to set the rules for a human-centric approach

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