1 September 2020

The United Workers Union has produced a thorough report on Technology and Power in Australian workplaces: “At this present moment it is crucial we consider what a more democratic and equitable future of work and technology might look like, and how it can be achieved. A society in which data is held in common, the limits and use of new technologies collectively agreed upon and used by workers to build shared power and solidarity. Workplaces in which innovation can act in service of a broad public good — not just the narrow interests of profit accumulation.” The report makes compelling recommendations, such as the creation of “industry level worker councils to negotiate the use and scope of surveillance and other disruptive technologies in the workplace”, the inclusion of “[p]rivacy thresholds in the national employment standards,” the “[r]edistribut[ion of] productivity gains from technology back to labour via a universal basic dividend”, and a demand that “[d]ata must be held in common and not treated as private property”. UWU’s proposed Ethical framework for workplace technology is excellent, and workers should be aware of it and use it to challenge their employers when they push new tech-based schemes..