The Malta Chamber and the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) recently organised a webinar discussing key topics from the EU autonomous framework agreement on digitalisation.
This was organised in association with the General Workers Union (GWU) as part of the EU TransFormWork project, which is being funded by the EU Social Dialogue Programme.
The social partners unanimously agreed that any movement on this subject should be based on a collaborative working culture between the employer and the employee.
“Digitalisation is changing the way we work. Being ever present at the office has become an option, not a necessity for several businesses,” MBB President Alison Mizzi said.
“This opens the door for more flexible work arrangements but does not come without challenges, including stress from the excessive use of digital tools and the greyer delineation between work and private life. We must create more awareness, provide training, and adopt proactive management practices that address these challenges,” she continued.
The event saw the participation of the main cross-sectoral social partners in Malta. The employers were represented by The Malta Chamber, the Malta Employers Association, and the Malta Chamber of SMEs. The workers’ representatives were represented by the General Workers Union and UHM Voice of the Workers.
“It all boils down to mutual trust, synergy, and collaboration between employers and employees,” Malta Chamber CEO Marthese Portelli said.
“We need a change in mindset on the workplace which is more output driven. Moving away from a 40-hour week, punch-in, punch-out, to a productive KPI system will lead to more clarity and more efficiency,” she continued.
Other special guests were invited to share their expertise on specific topics, such as Mireille Pellegrini Petit from Thrive Positive, Lara Pace from Ganado Advocates, and Chris Busuttil Delbridge from Evolve.
The main outcomes of the discussion revolved around the need to promote more positive cultures in companies and implement proactive human resources policies that are centred on flexibility, respect, and trust, in the relationship between employers and employees.
There was also agreement on the need of continuously creating awareness on the downside effects of excessive use of technology and the need for training to disconnect from digital tools during leisure time.
It was agreed that monitoring and surveillance should only go as far as what is needed for the purpose of securing the work environment. Employees should be made aware when surveillance takes place in full compliance with GDPR requirements.
There were different views on aspects of legislation, between the need for specific legislation on the Right to disconnect or reviewing existent legislations such as the Working Time Directive and evaluate whether it needs to be refined to the fast-evolving digital realities. Nonetheless, it was stated that any future legislation should not be overly prescriptive and avoids a one-size fits all solution, given diverse conditions applicable to companies of different sizes and operating in different economic sectors.
During the event, The Malta Chamber presented policy guidelines on the Right to Disconnect for businesses. The event also included a presentation on the EU Autonomous Framework Agreement on Digitalisation and the TransFormWork Project.
Alison Mizzi / LinkedIn
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