The right to turn off zoom | Editorial

The pandemic, which threatened to be a temporary cloud over our daily lives, continued indefinitely. The consequences will be many. The pandemic accelerated the digital transition we heard about as if it were in the distant future. The digital transition is in our midst and we cannot escape it.

Certainly the insurance company Liberty Europa will not be the first or the last company to convert a provisional measure, remote work for health reasons, into a permanent measure. Liberty Seguros announced last week that it would become a fully digital organization with employees at a distance.

The persistence and resilience of the virus, as well as all the obvious health, educational, psychological consequences, etc., divided the world of work in half, between those who can telework and those who cannot. From INE data, we know that almost a quarter of the total number of workers, more than a million people, perform their functions remotely and that their wages are higher than those performing functions incompatible with teleworking, apart from the natural exceptions, as is the case with some health professionals.

However, this in no way means that there are no proletariat at the computer whose wages do not nearly offset the workload that is often required for remote work. In order to prevent working relationships from falling into a gloomy and unruly limbo, especially with regard to schedules, it is necessary that this digital transition in the world of work is now properly regulated, as teleworking is not going to dissolve in the post-pandemic.

Spain has already done its homework. Pedro Sánchez’s government and the social partners have reached a preliminary agreement to create a legal framework for remote working. In Portugal, Bloco de Esquerda and PS will make proposals to regulate telework.

The first is, of course, more crucial in terms of schedules, rest periods, accidents at work, costs or privacy thanks to José Soeiro’s voice. The second is more withdrawn through the voice of Ana Catarina Mendes and wants to avoid “breaks” between employees and employers. Teleworking has been a feature of Portuguese law for almost two decades but needs to be adapted to the reality in which we live. The bourgeoisie needs the right to turn off zoom in order to be recognized.

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