15.03.2024

Launch Event: Collective Bargaining Practices on AI and Algorithmic Management in European services sectors

On March 15, 2024, FES and UNI Europa launched their collaborative research project focussing on AI and collective bargaining.

New Research Project Online Now!

All findings of the FES-UNI Europa research project on Collective Bargaining Practices on AI and Algorithmic Management are available here.

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In late 2022, Artificial Intelligence (AI) made an explosive entrance onto the stage of public consciousness: with ChatGPT, a chat-based form of AI systems that became available for the average person’s use for the first time. The next year, Hollywood writers organised in the Writers Guild of America went on a 148 days-long strike. They fought – and won – not just more pay and job security, but also limits to the use of AI in the writing process.

However, these very public displays of the power and challenges of AI tend to conceal the fact that AI and algorithmic management systems  have proliferated across various industries for a number of years. While commonly associated with the platform or gig economies, demand for AI and algorithmic-management systems is booming amongst managers in ‘conventional’ firms. For workers and trade unions, then, their implementation at the workplace has raised many questions – from data protection and privacy to impacts on working conditions, such as monitoring of the workforce, bias in decision-making processes or the potential violation of human rights.

Over the last years, UNI Europa and the FES Competence Centre on the Future of Work have been successfully cooperating to raise the awareness of workers and trade unions regarding the use of AI systems at the workplace. However, following the report on employee awareness about algorithmic management at work, we see that there is a need to provide concrete examples of how AI at work is addressed through collective agreements.

To understand the challenges that are emerging in relation to the increased use of AI at work, we initiated a new research project and conducted two studies to 1) identify frequently used AI systems in the European service sectors and 2) examine the current situation in collective bargaining regarding the use of AI-related tools by employers vis-à-vis workers. The clauses extracted from various Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) have been gathered and will be accessible through a visually intuitive dashboard.

The aim of the project is to raise awareness of workers and trade unions regarding the use of AI systems at the workplace and to support this goal with concrete examples of how AI at work is addressed through collective agreements.

At the project launching event, the authors of the two studies, Steve Rolf (University of Sussex) and Marta Kahancovà (CELSI) presented the key findings and Fiona Dragstra (WageIndicator Foundation) gave a short introduction into the new dashboard. We were delighted to have three experts, Uma Rani (ILO), José Varela (UGT) and Stefan Olsson (European Commission), who commented on the results from their different perspectives.

Please find the agenda here.



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