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

 

 

The Anti-Union Justin Trudeau

Trudeau is making an illegal push to end a major series of strikes. But unions can’t count on the courts to save them — only direct action can get the goods.


Justin Trudeau at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, March 2016. World Bank / Flickr.

Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), the country’s most militant union, have been negotiating a new contract since November 2017. They have been fighting for job security, pay equity, and health and safety. Canada Post made a profit of $144 million in 2017, thanks to growing parcel delivery due to online shopping. With the legalization of cannabis in Canada — available only for online home delivery in the largest province of Ontario — profits are expected to climb even higher. MORE