Automation is not a force of tomorrow; it is already happening in our workplaces today. Rather than fighting change, as trade unions we should seek to shape it, directing the introduction of technology to promote equality, protect the dignity of work, and support workers as human beings. That means ensuring that workers voices are listened to in the design, implementation, and usage of technologies, especially the voices of those who will be worst affected.
At Community, we’ve developed a guide with the Institute for the Future of Work that helps our reps to shape the way technology is used at work. It is intended to help our reps understand common issues and raise the right questions and action points at the right time. Our guide should also provide the tools to keep technology use and its impacts under review throughout its life cycle – and maintain standards of good practice. We call for dedicated technology forums to create spaces for trained technology reps to scrutinise proposals and help to shape them for mutual benefit.
To ensure tech doesn’t make work worse, we call for fair limits on monitoring and surveillance at work, for workers to have greater rights over their own data and for the right to switch off and disconnect from work. We also call for regular, rigorous algorithmic impact assessments and for the equality impact of technology decisions to be fully considered at all stages of the process. Steps like these are necessary to ensure that changes to the world of work consider the people they will impact.
It’s crucial that changes at work have the voices of workers at their heart.RGB_A_partnership_Approach_to_Use_of_Technology_at_Work_Oct21
If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0800 389 6332.