A delegation of German industrial union for Mining, Chemicals and Energy IG-BCE visited Cedefop on 25 August to find out about the agency’s work, in view of the challenges posed by the digital economy and in particular by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

With over 660 000 members, the IG-BCE is one of Germany’s biggest unions, representing workers in sectors such as gas, glass, rubber, ceramics, plastics, leather, petrol and related products, paper, environment and waste management.

While in most of these sectors, the organisation and remuneration of work is rather traditional and solid, the members of its Board are aware of the potentially disruptive transformations ahead and are keen on taking an informed and proactive stance to help shape developments in the sectors and occupations falling in their remit.

In his presentation, Cedefop expert Konstantinos Pouliakas drew a remarkably differentiated picture of the ongoing digital shift to AI and its expected impact on employment, occupations and jobs. His colleague Jiri Branka introduced the group to the Skills Panorama and showed them around the pages on skills supply and demand in Germany, highlighting Cedefop's labour market analyses. Both presentations triggered a lot of questions, comments, and discussions. Visiting group leader Michael Vassiliadis said that they 'had come to Cedefop with high expectations – and  the presentations actually surpassed these.'

The delegation consisted of Mr Vassiliadis, President of IndustriALL Europe and IG BCE, Vice President Edeltraud Glänzer and Members of the Board, Francesco Grioli (portfolio: young workers), Petra Reinbold-Knape (education and training) and Ralf Sikorski (labour policy and collective bargaining). They were accompanied by Yasmin Fahimi, Member of the German Bundestag, who was on a private mission.

In a strategy meeting following the visit, IG-BCE's Federal Bureau decided to discuss with the President of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) Rainer Hoffmann an enhanced exchange of information between the German unions and Cedefop.