The notion of worker, particularly, in industrial settings is often associated with men. With the change of work dynamics and labour relations, did the identification of industrial work with labour performed mainly by men?

11. Worker. Period of State Socialism, 1944-1989. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

Industrial work and manual work can often be seen as antagonistic or complimentary depending on the specific industrial sector. What role do hands, i.e, manual work, play in the Fourth industrial revolution and what shape will it take in the Fifth?

12 . Master craftsman of the largest knife and cutlery factory in Gabrovo. Period of State Socialism, 1944-1989. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

A worker is any person who works in exchange for a wage or salary and who performs services or tasks for an employer. His/her employment is regulated by a written or verbal contract of service rather than a contract for services (i.e. “independent contractor”).

In broad terms EU law defines a “contract for services” or the provision of services as any self-employed economic activity which is normally provided for remuneration.

The traditional understanding of an industrial worker relied on the performance of services related to manufacturing, altering, cleaning, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, adapting for sale, breaking up or demolishing, transforming materials.

Other examples of industrial work appointed were the inclusion of electronic data processing telecommunication, electricity generation and/or distribution. While this definition is still applicable to many industries, especially in the least developed countries, the landscape of work relations is more complex and fragmented today and the nature of industrial tasks and jobs widened exponentially to include, among others, digital/creative services. An industrial worker can do, and usually does, more than manual work.

In the current labour market relations within the different industry sectors, and in particular in the EU, service providers and workers coexist and different realities are possible: workers with part time/ full time contracts, workers working remotely or in situ, service providers filling in for seasonal, creative, or intellectual property related tasks/assignments that also work with different companies, enterprises/ factories.