Women and automation - workers join forces as robots t...

Women and automation - workers join forces as robots threaten jobs

31 January 2018

At Unite’s equalities conference in Blackpool tomorrow (31 January 2018), leading women activists will discuss how women’s jobs are likely to be disproportionately affected by new technology and artificial intelligence.
Unite represents over 300,000 women members and will consult on its political and industrial strategy to ensure a future that works for women.
New technologies and artificial intelligence pose real risks to employment in sectors with significant proportions of women workers including health, financial services, local authorities and civil air transport (see notes to editors).
Last week, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, a new report predicted 1.4 million U.S. jobs will be at risk from technology between now and 2026. Almost 60 percent of these are jobs currently performed by women.
Sharon Graham, Unite Executive Officer said: “Women’s jobs are likely be hit hardest by this latest wave of automation, but in the right hands new technology could be a force for good.

“So, Unite is developing a political and industrial strategy to build a future that works for women. New technology is going to generate a lot of wealth. We will fight for women to escape the sticky floor of low paid work, and to make sure this wealth is used to do things that help women and their families, such as reducing working time without loss of pay.”

Notes to editors

  • In the NHS the right wing think-tank Reform is promoting the introduction of automation into the NHS to save money on wages. 
  • In civil air transport  a team of engineers in the US are developing a flight attendant that can circulate a plane and can speak to passengers in their own language. 
  • Artificial Intelligence in telephone banking could have a disproportionate effect on women in financial services. According to research 57 per cent of workers at contact centres in the UK are women.  

There are also major opportunities;

  • Technology could be used to overcome gender and racial bias in recruiting. 
  • New technologies could also reduce working time and not pay. 
  • Done properly with the involvement of Unite, this could make a real difference for working parents and carers.

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315
Twitter: @unitetheunion
Facebook: unitetheunion1

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.