Estrella Durá: “We must ensure that employers assume their responsibility for the protection of workers’ mental health”.

The European Parliament has adopted the report “Mental health in a digital world of work” for which I was rapporteur for the Socialists and Democrats group. The report includes a number of socialist priorities such as legislation on the use of AI in the workplace.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution setting out the challenges of an increasingly digitalised labour market and proposing binding measures to protect the mental health of workers across Europe.

Estrella Durá Ferrandis MEP, Socialist rapporteur for the report, urged the European Commission to legislate in order to tackle this growing problem, which has been brought to light in the wake of the pandemic and affects not only employees, but society and welfare systems as a whole, due to the high cost of public spending and an increased risk of social exclusion and poverty.

Digitalisation, automation and the misuse of Artificial Intelligence systems, together with a lack of legislation, are leading to the deterioration of working conditions and an increase in work-related mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and burnout.

During her speech in the plenary, Durá said that “it is time to act to ensure that the employer assumes the responsibility that corresponds to him or her”. She also pointed out that “teleworking, the lack of a right to disconnect, mass surveillance and control are just some of the factors derived from digitalisation which, together with job instability, favour the increase of psychosocial risks at work”.

After tough negotiations with the European People’s Party, Durá argued forcefully that innovation and progress cannot go hand in hand with exploitation and job insecurity. The digital transition “must be inclusive and it is necessary to legislate to fill the existing legal vacuum, ensuring the protection and welfare of workers”, she pointed out.

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