Unions key to automation protection
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird

An increased role for trade unions and collective bargaining, along with improved social security supports and a broader focus on skills, is needed to protect job quality in the face of workplace automation, according to a new report from the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI).


The future of work: The impact of automation technologies for job quality in Northern Ireland, examines the effects of increasing automation on the nature of work and job quality. It draws on previous experience of new technologies to understand how automation might affect the quality of jobs in the future.


The report says that automation may destroy some jobs, but will likely create more employment. It adds that assessing the impact of this for workers requires evaluating both the jobs lost and those subsequently created.


It says that, while the economy has been able to create new jobs to avoid overall employment reductions, lost jobs in sectors like manufacturing have not been replaced with identical roles.


The report also found that industries and occupations with the lowest risk of automation are more susceptible to lower job quality in Northern Ireland, and it is unlikely job quality will improve without direct policy intervention.


Read the report HERE.

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