On 5 April 2017, Federal Labour Minister Andrea Nahles met with the Employment and Labor Minister Lee Ki-kweon of the Republic of Korea. He and his delegation visited the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to discuss the results of the "Work 4.0" dialogue process and the topic "the future of work". This latter is also one of the four main topics of the ministry for the meeting of the labour and employment ministers of the G20 on 18 and 19 May 2017 in Bad Neuenahr. Germany holds the presidency of the G20 this year, and the Republic of Korea is a G20 member.
Ministers Nahles and Lee exchanged views on social aspects of "Industry 4.0", as the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies is known in Germany. They discussed future changes in the world of work and how employers and workers can be prepared for them.
In times when digital technologies are transforming our societies more and more and globalisation is increasing, ensuring social progress and good conditions of employment in the future is a very important task. No one should be left behind, said Minister Nahles. She added that it was a matter of preserving and expanding individual employability and the quality of work in all G20 countries, for example through tailored training of employees throughout their professional lives. Minister Nahles went on to say that other important points included comprehensive access to social protections and a strong social partnership between management and labour. This, she said, was essential, when it came, for example, to the negotiation of flexible arrangements in the organisation of work.
For us it is very important to have the Republic of Korea on our side as a partner. On the one hand, we are facing similar challenges due to demographic changes; on the other hand, the Republic of Korea has much more knowledge and a greater wealth of experience on issues of the digital transformation. I am very pleased with our international cooperation, said the Minister in conclusion.