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Robot revolution should lead to shorter working week, says TUC

CONRAD LANDIN reports from Manchester

MINISTERS must legislate for workers’ control to stop bosses snatching the benefits of new technology away from them, a report published by the TUC today says.

A poll of British workers shows 74 per cent want new technology to be used to give them more control over their working lives.

But only 34 per cent think the profits brought about by increased efficiency will be equally shared out and 51 per cent expect managers and shareholders to hoard the gains produced by automation.

TUC report A Future that Works for Working People calls for an expansion of collective bargaining rights.

It says a new commission should be set up to bring unions together with the government and employers should ensure new technology is “introduced with the consent of workers” and retraining is made easily available to workers at risk of losing their jobs.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Bosses and shareholders must not be allowed to hoover up all the gains from new tech for themselves.

“Working people deserve their fair share and that means using the gains from new tech to raise pay and allow [workers] more time with their families.”

The TUC-commissioned poll shows that 81 per cent of working adults want to reduce their working hours in the future so that they can strike a better work-life balance.

And 45 per cent backed a four-day working week, with no loss of pay.

The study also shows that workers fear that more sophisticated technology would result in more surveillance in the workplace, with 72 per cent expecting to be more closely monitored by their bosses.


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