The EU declared 2023 the Year of Skills to bring attention to the challenges the contemporary workforce faces and to the European responses. It is indeed a period of transition in labor, with no little unrest. The Yellow Vest strikes are perhaps the best known of the strikes that have taken place recently in Europe. This Conversation on Europe considers the state of labor and the security of employment. In conversation with our panelists, we will consider labor struggles, the disruption of historical industries, the insecurity caused by inflation, energy scarcity, and AI. We will consider the future in Europe of the developing culturally diverse workforce? And we will hear about EU level initiatives to develop skilled workers for the 21st century.
Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh
Jane Gingrich, University of Oxford
Stefan Olsson, Deputy Director General, European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Jamie Woodcock, University of Essex
About the Panelist:
Dr. Jane Gingrich is a professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford (Magdalen College). Dr. Gingrich research interests involve comparative political economy and comparative social policy. In particular, I am interested in contemporary restructuring of the welfare state and the politics of institutional change more broadly. Dr. Gingrich is currently working on a project examining how the introduction of market-oriented reforms in state services has altered citizen and group attitudes toward government.
Stefan Olsson is a Swedish lawyer with degrees in international and tax law. Having joined the European Commission in 1996, he dealt with fundamental rights issues as well as social dialogue. He was assistant to the Director General for Employment and Social Affairs (2000-2005) before leading units dealing with social and employment law and policy as well as administrative affairs. As from 1 November 2015, he took up the position of Director in DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. He was responsible for the management of the European Social Fund in Romania, Bulgaria, Malta, and Spain, for the implementation of the Employment Strategy through tools such as the Youth Guarantee, the Long-term Unemployment Recommendation, and the network of Public Employment Services, as well as legislative and policy issues relating to working conditions including health and safety at work. From 1 September 2022, he serves as Deputy Director-General responsible for policy issues in DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.
Dr. Jamie Woodcock is a researcher based in London and a senior lecturer at the University of Essex. He is the author of books including Troublemaking (Verso, 2023), Employment (Routledge, 2023), The Fight Against Platform Capitalism (University of Westminster Press, 2021), The Gig Economy (Polity, 2019), Marx at the Arcade (Haymarket, 2019), and Working the Phones (Pluto, 2017). He is on the editorial board of Notes from Below and Historical Materialism.