The public debate about AI has not addressed the challenges of AI implementation at the workplace to its full extend (collection of workers’ data, privacy, algorithmic management, surveillance, upskilling…).
Both trade unions and employers should take part in establishing appropriate norms and implementation mechanisms, developing and monitoring training, and governing accountability.
UNI Europa, the European federation for skills and service workers, has voiced the concerns of many workers in Europe's services sectors related to AI:
Data collection and management should be integrated in social partner negotiations. These could include topics such as transparency, justification and suitability of data collection, ethicas and accountability.
We believe that decisions made by algorithms can lead to less democratic workplaces if they are not followed up with adequate supervision. Neutrality, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and political standing must be ensured. In work settings, negotiations should centre on essential principles for avoiding bias.
Moreover, social partners must be involved in establishing the skills and training required to transition to a fair workplace of the future. Trade unions have a wealth of unparalleled experience in identifying training and workforce needs. Technological changes, new interactions of humans and machines, and evolving skill sets will not produce increased productivity or generate job satisfaction unless the social partners address the problem together.
I would like to encourage you to read our position paper to better understand the workers' perspective within the AI debate.