As delivered to Community’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Belfast on May 31st 2022.
Conference, Deborah Wood speaking on the NEC’s support for Motion 8, on technology agreements in the workplace.
Conference, think about how technology has changed this world. Think about the phone in your pocket, the computer in your home, the television in your living room. Think how much all of those have changed in the past twenty, even ten years.
We are in the midst of a technological revolution. Technology is progressing in years in ways that previously took decades. And we are seeing that in the workplace too.
Technology is transforming the way we work. We saw that during the pandemic, with working from home. We’re seeing it with automation, and changes to ways jobs are functioning and what jobs exist.
Technology is not a being that is out of our orbit. It is under our control: it can be utilised positively, or it can be utilised negatively.
People are not machines; we should not use technology to treat them as such. We should not use technology to place workers under excessive surveillance – tracking toilet breaks, outputs down to the second, even keys typed.
Conference, by backing this motion we are placing workers voices front and centre when it comes to technological change in the workplace.
The solution to this, is technology agreements. These ensure structured discussions between employers and employees ahead of any technological change in a workplace.
By backing this motion, Community will provide training to reps and members on how to negotiate around technology and develop technology agreements. We will also support our trade union partners to share best practices on technology agreements.
Conference, we cannot allow technology change to be something that happens to workers. We must work hard, we must stand together to ensure changes are made WITH workers.
In supporting this motion, we will ensure that workers’ voices continue to be heard at every level. Nothing about us without us.