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’There should be no decision about us without us’: Unions call for workers to be at the core of AI regulation

By Jack Campbell | |4 minute read
There Should Be No Decision About Us Without Us Unions Call For Workers To Be At The Core Of Ai Regulation

The immense adoption of AI across global workplaces affects one group more than any other – the workers. Now, there are calls for AI regulation to have the people at the forefront of decisions.


The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is calling for a “worker-centred approach” to AI adoption and regulation across the country.

“Workers must be at the centre of decision-making on the future of AI and how it is regulated,” commented ACTU assistant secretary, Joseph Mitchell.

“AI is present in nearly every industry and we need to tackle this problem head-on. We risk a future where the rights fought for over generations by working people are undermined by the adoption of new technologies.”

With AI “already present across every industry”, the desire to bring people into the decision making could see those affected most have a say.

There are a variety of trends recognised as driving these perceptions. According to ACTU, these include:

  • Risks and harms arising from the adoption of AI technologies, including bias, discrimination and error
  • Emerging international approaches to mitigating AI risks
  • Opportunities to adopt AI in ways that benefit citizens, the environment and/or economic growth, for example in health and climate management
  • Opportunities to foster a responsible AI industry in Australia

“The risks are clear: workers are being subjected to unreasonable unblinking surveillance, being hired and fired by algorithm, having their creative output stolen by companies, and being discriminated against by bosses’ bots,” said Mitchell.

“We need to ensure that these risks are eliminated while encouraging the development of technology that uplifts working people and any productivity benefits from its adoption be shared with working people that enable it. There should be no decision about us without us.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.