[2023] C13 Artificial intelligence in the workplace

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from: ,

Motion 42 and amendment, 43, 44 and amendment and 45 and amendment

This Congress notes the accelerated pace of developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and the range of issues this creates for workers and wider society, and welcomes the work to date by the TUC.

Surveillance technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) are being rapidly expanded and used to exacerbate workplace inequalities, create pressure on staff and in some cases, create an unsafe work environment. Congress believes that if these technologies continue to be introduced in our workplaces without consultation and agreement, they will result in a degradation of pay, terms and conditions and infringe on our basic human rights.

We know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications can be very powerful tools in assisting human endeavour. However, they also have the potential to limit the future careers, income and work opportunities of composers, featured artists, session and orchestral musicians, as well as those of other creator and performer groups. This applies not just where it is by intentional design but equally as dangerously through the unconscious bias of developers.

Search-AI and Generative-AI applications could undermine the entire music sector and our culture more widely so it is crucial that the potential impacts are explored and relevant stakeholders consulted before any legislative or licensing solutions are put into law. We know from experience that legislation (including copyright law) does not always keep up with technological change. Global corporations may benefit while individual creators, whose works are exploited, see their rights and income diminish.

Congress notes with concern the proliferation and widespread deployment of generative AI, allowing systems to generate text, images and other media, similar to the training data originally inputted.

This poses clear and immediate issues – including breaches of copyright, threats to jobs and freelance work and the undermining of original content from diverse creators. It risks malign fake news environments creating serious ethical concerns and resulting in the continued decline of public trust in the media. Scraping un-curated content off the internet also serves to embed and reinforce biases.

These issues are vital to all workers, and particular to those in the wider creative industries, risking individual livelihoods and the erosion of a vibrant creative sector in the UK.

The UK finance sector is a key part of the economy. It provides over 1.1 million workers with relatively good quality jobs. The recent advances in Artificial Intelligence poses a threat to many traditional roles in our sector and to workers across the economy. According to McKinsey up to 375 million jobs worldwide will be replaced by automation by 2030 and it’s clear that white collar and administration roles in our sector will be amongst the hardest hit.

Many financial services providers are already using AI to detect fraud and make trading decisions. The predictions around job displacement are frightening, with call centre and customer service roles estimated to drop by 75% as a direct result of AI

Congress notes that AI brings opportunities as well as threats. AI has the capacity to affect humanity profoundly, for good as well as ill, yet its development is driven by private corporations whose work is subject to minimal public oversight.

Congress believes there is also a growing problem in the lack of knowledge and policy surrounding the development of technologies like AI and that the labour movement must improve our resources if we are to confront the inappropriate use of these technologies in the workplace.

Congress believes that the gap in workers’ rights in regards to technology must be addressed and an iron-clad legal right to consultation must be introduced.

Congress acknowledges the excellent work the TUC has already done on AI in the workplace. However, the unprecedented pace in which AI is advancing means that more work is required to prepare organisations and workers for the impact.

Congress resolves to:

a. work with the Labour Party and the Government to ensure that the legal right to consult trade unions on the introduction of new technologies is enshrined in law;

b. lobby to ensure that:

    • any licensing solutions developed to permit the use of human-created musical works to train AI must afford the original human creators, not just the current rights holders, the right to decide whether their creations can be used or not;
    • the original human creators receive a fully fair share in any remuneration should they agree to such use;
    • any such rights should be unwaivable and remain with the creators.

c. lobby for AI regulation nationally and internationally, including an urgent UK Royal Commission

d. put pressure on the Government to:

    • address the lack of state regulation;
    • provide funding to support the reskilling and retraining of workers at risk of being replaced by AI, and to support workers in benefitting from changes to their roles and work-focus through the introduction of this technology;
    • ensure employers introduce safeguarding policies to support employees in the new AI driven workplace.

e. campaign for:

    • significant and long-term investment in skills and retraining, including a fundamental overhaul of the Apprenticeship Levy and recognition of the vital role of trade unions and Union Learning Reps in encouraging workers to take up training opportunities;
    • ethical usage of AI, with consent and appropriate remuneration of creators for their content;
    • information and labelling to be attached/attributed to all “Products” and all Creative work that has been “ made “ or “constructed” by AI

f. campaign against the use of AI in workplaces without explicit collective agreement;

g. deliver safeguards against discrimination;

h. invest in a major research project which identifies the use of and the risks of technology, including tracking and AI, in workplaces across multiple sectors;

i. make the TUC campaign against the unscrupulous use of technology in the workplace a key initiative for 2024;

j. develop and widen the work of the TUC’s AI working group

Mover: CWU
Seconder: Musicians’ union
Supporters: NUJ; Aegis; USDAW; Community; AUE