On 23 September, the trade union-related research institutes (TURI) network held its 13th annual conference in Brussels. Although the pandemic still prevented most of its members from travelling and had to join online, with 27 represented TURI members, the turnout exceeded our expectations. It signalled the clear need for the workers' friendly centres to exchange research agendas and projects.
Even if telework significantly affected the way we work, nobody has been standing still. Many of the Institutes have advanced studies on the impact of the pandemic on labour markets and working conditions. In most cases, the research has been carried out at the national level. The TURI meeting provided the opportunity to present the participant's research priorities and projects.
The research topics related to the Covid-19 pandemic that have been or still are being carried out are very diverse yet comparable. Here are some examples that have been mentioned: IRES (France) is looking at the national measures for social protection and economic recovery to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, while the Fondazione Di Vittorio (Italy) is mapping the role of the trade unions to react and to address the recovery strategies (on digitalisation, just transition and social cohesion). There are specific surveys to measure the impact of Covid-19 on working conditions and health (Fundacion 1°de Mayo, Spain) and the implications of COVID-19 for human security (Lithuanian Social Research Centre). AIAS (The Netherlands) has projects on the impact of COVID-19 on the value and valuation of work and collective agreements in Europe, but more specifically on self-employed workers in Amsterdam. Their colleagues at De Burcht (The Netherlands) investigate the reaction of the sectoral social partners to the COVID-19 pandemic with case studies in selected industries, while OSE (Belgium) is looking at social protection of non‐standard workers and the self‐employed in the EU during the pandemic (together with the ETUI). FAOS (Denmark) also looks at atypical employees during these atypical times and virtual management during the lockdown. HIVA (Belgium) has included the aspect of Covid-19 inequality in a new EU research project starting on 1 October. And last but not least, most research priorities of the WSI (Germany) relate to the Covid pandemic and its economic and social outcomes, and with the Labor Force Survey they have been collecting exclusive data concerning the situation of the working population during the health crisis such as short-time work, income losses, work from home, childcare, attitudes etc.
The ETUI has also been focusing on different aspects of the implications of the pandemic for the world of work with Policy Briefs on teleworking in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, occupational safety and health in the healthcare sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, health protection by tackling precarious work, Covid-19 contact-tracing apps, highly mobile workers in the EU and the use of short-time work during the COVID-19 crisis, a Working paper on job retention schemes implemented in response to the Covid-19 crisis, a report on the role of European social dialogue in this exceptional economic and social situation, an overview on the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020-2021 country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the social field and many more. We have also established the ETUI-CELSI Covid-19 Observatory, which aims to map out data about policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic in the EU and several non-EU countries.
The amount of work and the diversity of the research done by members of the TURI network is enormous. We all agreed that organising a public conference is more than worthwhile, probably in February next year. We will showcase our work on the impact of the pandemic in the different parts of Europe and in comparative perspective and discuss it with trade unions leaders and policymakers. You are most welcome to attend this conference. Keep an eye on the ETUI website and social media for more details.
I would also like to flag the first Global Forum on Democratizing Work will start tomorrow (and end on 7 October), at which you are welcome to attend sessions with prominent figures whose work focuses on the three core principles of the Manifeste Travail (democratise, decommodify, decarbonise) but also to discuss ideas and initiatives in smaller groups.