Changes in the sector, in particular those relating to automation and digitalisation, are creating many new challenges. Jobs in the transport sector, especially low- and medium-skilled jobs, may be at risk due to automation and moves towards greater sustainability. At the same time, the ongoing digital transformation presents new opportunities, such as an improved working environment and quality jobs that could become more attractive for women and young people. Therefore, a credible path is needed for the just transition for transport workers.
As announced in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the Commission will, by 2023, issue recommendations for the transition to automation and digitalisation and on means to mitigate their impact on the transport workforce. In preparation of these, we will discuss the outcomes of the 2021 Study on the social dimension of the transition to automation and digitalisation in transport, focusing on the labour force with all relevant stakeholders.
Another horizontal study, to be published in 2022, will look at the social dimension of the future EU transport system regarding users and passengers.
The social dimension of the transition to automation was already addressed at the Digital Transport Days (Tallinn, November 2017), where panellists discussed the impact of digitalisation on the transport workforce and users. Following up, the Council, in its conclusions on the digitalisation of transport of 5 December 2017, emphasised the importance of wide societal dialogue on these issues and called on the Commission to ‘assess the socio-economic and environmental impact of automation and digitalisation in the field of transport taking into account the new skills needed in that sector, and, if necessary, to propose measures to address those impacts.’
As a first step, the European Commission organised a participatory conference 'Automation in transport: how does it affect the labour force?' on the impact of automation in transport on the labour force on 20 November 2018 in Brussels. The conference focused on the most important trends in automated transport and how they affect the labour force in transport.
The impact on the labour force in transport was also discussed during the Digital Transport Days (Helsinki, October 2019) in a dedicated session on 'Managing the transition towards digitalisation and automation – social aspects'.