The European Investigative Journalism Conference

Let’s investigate labour across borders!

Where and how we work has been rapidly changing in the last years, and in many cases for the worse. The financial crisis of 2007-08 made many people become part of the precariat, and Covid-19 made things even worse for many, including those seen as essential workers.

It’s time that we work together on investigating labour topics across borders.

Arena is in the first stages of developing a collaborative network of journalists interested in investigating labour topics across Europe. And we are organising a working roundtable at this year’s Dataharvest conference to start sharing ideas and data for possible investigations.

There have been very good reporting and investigations about labour topics around Europe. Ukrainian workers fleeing “modern slavery” conditions on British farms. Europe’s meat industry becoming a “coronavirus hot spot” in which many workers are migrants from poorer countries. We know how Covid-19 has disproportionally affected mobile workers and others working in precarious conditions across Europe. The rise of the so-called gig or platform economy has been both an opportunity to get flexible work and also to be easily exploited, a situation that some national courts are starting to reverse. And now our work is increasingly being managed by algorithms, often with unpleasant results.

Yet, even though EU institutions and regulations affect not only cross-border work but also national labour markets, even though some of the biggest employers are corporations that hire (and sometimes exploit) people across borders, even though more and more people are migrating into and within Europe because of work, we can’t find much cross-border investigative journalism into labour topics.

Let’s get together and collaborate and investigate labour across borders!

Join us next month at Dataharvest and come to this session with ideas and questions about cross-border labour reporting. What are the needs and opportunities? What data can be used, and what data should we work to find?