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Automation & the Future of work

Technology at work

Technological change has the power to transform the world of work. Recent advancements in automation, surveillance, and management technologies present unique challenges to workers and unions in the coming years. These challenges have the potential to displace jobs and powerfully alter the employment relationship and quality of work.  

Often discussions of technology and work focus on moments of great disruption—historical instances where entire industries are displaced or abolished. These are important moments, but so too are the quiet moments of change. Issues of work speed-up, on-demand rosters facilitated by management apps, and surveillance are pressing concerns too.

Organising for technology as a public good

UWU members are organising for a more democratic and equitable future of work. This includes the technologies in our workplaces and communities. New technologies should be co-determined with workers through consultative processes to ensure their use is fair and democratic. Workplace technologies and innovation should act in service of a broad public good and not just in the narrow interest of profit for the employer.


  • Co-determination laws to determine the use and scope of workplace technologies
  • Greater privacy protections for workers
  • A powerful industrial relations system that is responsive to modern workplace issues
  • Policies to limit the punitive use of surveillance in the workplace
  • Genuine alternatives from invasive technologies such as facial recognition
  • Use of technology to reduce the working day for all
  • Redistributive measures to return productivity gains to workers
  • Lifelong re-training funds for workers at risk of job loss
  • Just transitions that ensure no worker is left behind