The future world of work is now

Unite policy conference holds debate on automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace

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Unite policy conference engaged in a wide-ranging debate with many speakers about how automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are already having a huge impact on the workplace – an impact that will only deepen in the months and years to come.

Unite delegate Wayne Morgan (pictured above) moved the composite of motions, while Unite delegate Steven Byford (pictured below) seconded the composite, with many others contributing to the debate to share their personal experiences and opinions on AI and automation.

Conference discussed that while AI and automation have promised to enhance the workplace, in reality in many cases they have led to not only job losses, but longer, unpaid working hours, more covert surveillance of workers, the abuse of workers’ data and much more.

While conference recognised the potential of new ways of working with technology, workers must be protected from any detrimental impacts.

The motion called for a campaign, supported by social media, leaflets, and Unite events to raise awareness of the damage automation is having on jobs and in particular women workers. The campaign should inform the public of companies that are ‘killing jobs’, through automation, as well as how automation — say of check-out services — poses risks to the elderly and disabled.

The campaign should aim to enlist the support of customers who are also against the replacement of workers with self-service and other forms of automation, and also work with other unions to resist the race to the bottom caused by automation within industries such as retail.

The composite was carried.

By Hajera Blagg

Pics by Mark Thomas