STUC: Workers Have To Be In Control Of Automation

A new report from the Scottish Trades Union Congress on automation has concluded that the consequences of automation could be ‘severe’ for workers, unless steps are taken to ensure that active involvement.

The report highlights the threat to employment rights in the form of ‘platform companies’ like Uber and Deliveroo, by encouraging bogus self employment which fiddles with their employment status to deny them their rights to holiday and sick pay.

As the STUC conference takes place in Aviemore, a number of trade unions have put forward motions on the topic - including USDAW, the shopworkers’ union. They are concerned that workers are having technology ‘imposed upon them’, and that if left to continue in this direction, automation will result in a smaller and highly alienated workforce.

Responding to the report, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“The impact of digital development and the fast rate of technological change is being felt in long-established sectors of industry as well as newer emergent ones.

“Automation is the latest test facing working people, but really it is the same test that was set in the first industrial revolution - how do we ensure that working people benefit from automation, rather than become its casualties?

"New technologies should be creating new employment and a new work life balance, not being used to undermine workers’ rights and adding to job insecurity. In the end it comes down to who owns and controls the implementation of automation and so in whose interests it is shaped.

“Scottish Labour is prepared to intervene, to plan and not to simply rely on voluntary business pledges and Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the market.”

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