On the 10th January, Community’s Commission on Workers and Technology chaired by Yvette Cooper MP met for their second evidence hearing in Parliament.
The two year commission instigated by Community, and organised by the Changing Work Centre – a joint research initiative from Community and the Fabian Society, aims to take a ‘worker’s eye view’ of technology change in the workplace and especially the automation of existing job tasks.
Since the launch of the Commission last August, the Commission has held two evidence sessions in Parliament, and a workplace visit to retail sites.
Last week, the Commissioners heard evidence from leading voices on the challenges and opportunities for workers. These included the journalist and writer, James Bloodworth who in 2018 published Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain, the founder and CEO of Starling Bank, Anne Boden, the director of the Resolution foundation, Torsten Bell, as well as the founder and CEO of Metail, Tom Adeyoola.
Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community and Commissioner, said:
“It has been fascinating hearing workers’ experiences of technological change in the retail sector, as well as from leading voices on the impact of automation in the workplace from think tanks, journalists, businesses and banks.
“So far, we have explored a range of issues including how technological change might affect models of work and working practices, as well as workers’ rights and the disproportionate effect upon certain groups and areas in the country.
“The evidence given to the Commission will feed into a final report in early 2020, drawing lessons from individual businesses and sectors in order to set out conclusions and recommendations for the whole British labour market.
“Community instigated this project to develop our own thinking on how we should work in partnership with employers as they adopt new technologies, and we’re looking forward to exploring more sectors and speaking to more workers about their experiences.”
We are seeking responses from all interested parties, including employers, industrial associations, the trade union movement, government departments (both in the UK and other countries), local government and local enterprise partnerships, academia, think tanks and professional organisations.