#rp17 Speaker Andrea Nahles: Unconditional Basic Income – The right solution for the digital revolution?

New work, the future of work, work 4.0 – Digitalisation is changing entire industries, but it is also affecting the conditions of employment and work itself. Large parts of this shift are only just now becoming recognisable. Some see this as constituting a threat to their livelihood, adequate payment or the value of labour itself. One person who would like us to be talking more about the opportunities inherent in digitalisation is Andrea Nahles. We are happy to have the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs back as a guest at the re:publica to reprise her visit from last year. For a year and a half, the minister carried out the “Work 4.0” dialogue with experts from social partners, associations and unions, companies and science, as well as citizens. These discussions were always focused around the question of how we want to work in the future.

A part of this dialogue took place at the re:publica 2016. In a town hall meeting, visitors were able to sit down on stage with the minister and ask her questions. It quickly became clear just how much social relevance the topics of digitalisation and work 4.0 have: what kind of implications does labour legislation have for co-working spaces? How much co-determination must businesses ensure? Who has the right to a minimum wage?

The conclusions from the dialogue process – which began in April 2015 and ended with the closing conference in November 2016 – were documented by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the White Paper Work 4.0. The 234 pages of the document aren’t just concerned with the shifts in industries and jobs, new markets through digital platforms or industry 4.0. Structural objectives were also identified, such as self-determined work hours and healthy working conditions, continued education, technical training and qualification, participation in decision-making processes and the position of self-employed workers.

In her session at the #rp17 the minister will be giving us insights into the White Book and will be discussing what her answers to the digitalisation of the workplace look like. The debate surrounding “unconditional basic income”, and why it isn’t one of the answers she sees as promising, is of special interest to her. If you have any questions for the minister concerning the topic, then send us them via email (jenny[at]re-publica.de) or ask them in the social networks (Facebook, Twitter) using the #workfourzero hashtag. We will try to incorporate as many of them as possible into our talk with Frau Nahles. Questions live, in-person and on-site are obviously also an option.

Image credit: BMAS/ Werner Schuering