Robot era shouldn’t mean end to workers’ rights, says UN agency

ILO calls for living wage and union bargaining as automation threatens jobs

A robot works on cars at Jaguar Land Rover, in Solihull, West Midlands.
A robot works on cars at Jaguar Land Rover, in Solihull, West Midlands. Photograph: John Robertson for the Guardian

World leaders have been urged by an influential United Nations agency to sign up to a universal labour guarantee to bolster fundamental workers’ rights, including adequate living wages and collective bargaining through trade unions.

Designed to address rapid changes in the workplace triggered by the rise of the robot economy and technological automation, the International Labour Organization said a package of measures was required to put the world economy on a sustainable footing for the future.

The ILO report calls for a universal labour guarantee that would enshrine the right to an adequate living wage, maximum limits on working hours, and health and safety protections. It would also enforce freedom of association in trade unions and the right to collective bargaining, freedom from forced labour, child labour and discrimination. MORE



Can Slave Labour Charges Against Canadian Company Be Heard in Court in Canada? Supreme Court of Canada Hears Arguments Today

Protest at Nevsun Mining AGM 2017

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada is hearing an appeal by Nevsun Resources Limited (TSX: NSU/NYSE MKT: NSU) of lower court rulings that accusations against it regarding the use of forced labour at its Bisha mine in Eritrea should be heard in British Columbia, not Eritrea. MiningWatch Canada is not directly involved in the lawsuit itself, but we are intervening in the Supreme Court appeal because we are deeply concerned that the victims of abuse in connection with Canadian mining operations internationally should be able to seek justice in Canada.

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia upheld the ruling by the Supreme Court of British Columbia rejecting efforts by Vancouver-based Nevsun to dismiss a lawsuit brought by three Eritrean men who allege they were forced to work at the company’s Bisha mine in that country. Nevsun was granted leave to appeal that judgment to the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition to the plaintiffs in the case, a number of groups will be intervening along with MiningWatch: Amnesty International Canada, together with the International Commission of Jurists; the Mining Association of CanadaEarthRights International and the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law; and the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. The factums for the appeal are available on the Supreme Court’s case information page. MORE