Wolfgang Kowalsky, PhD, works for the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in Brussels. ETUC is the umbrella organization of Europe’s trade unions so as to speak with a single voice on behalf of European workers and have a stronger say in EU decision-making. ETUC has more than 45 million members. Wolfgang is Policy Advisor at the ETUC in charge of Digitalization of Work, Workers’ Participation, European Works Councils. He started his career as Lecturer at the French Business School HEC and then pursued at Free University in Berlin, before joining the German trade union IGM headquarter in Frankfurt. After a Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in North Rhine-Westphalia, he started working at the ETUC. He holds a Diploma in Sociology and a PhD. in Political Science from Free University Berlin. Amongst other books he published “Focus on European Social Policy. Countering Europessimism”, “Trade unions for a change of course in Europe,” and a number of articles on Social Europe: “Scenarios For A Digital Europe”, “The European Digital Agenda: Unambitious And Too Narrow.“

The ‘gig economy’ may sound cool but in reality many of the jobs offer a fast route back to the problems faced by day laborers of 100 years ago. The gig economy needs to grow up and meet its responsibilities to workers by turning undeclared work into declared work. Online platforms have the effect, if not the intent, of disguising the employment relationship along with facilitating avoidance of social security and tax obligations. The European Commission must stop giving an alibi for these arrangements. What about fair play? Is there a level playing field between new and old service providers when a 3-star hotel in Spain has to comply with 244 rules whereas “sharing” properties have only 12 rules to deal with? Digitalization‘s false promises for a better world need to be addressed. The future of work must be fair digital work.