A snapshot of workers in Wales’ understanding and experience of AI

Ceri Williams
Policy officer - Wales TUC
Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
Next steps and recommendations
The following next steps and recommendations are made by the report's authors based on the research findings. They seek to support the delivery of the specific aims within the 2022 Wales TUC resolution on AI.

Next steps for Wales TUC

The Wales TUC plans to take the following steps:

A. Produce further targeted resources and training for trade union reps

It is essential for shop floor workers to understand when and how these technologies are being used and what means can be deployed to negotiate with employers.

Regularly updated training resources and programmes are needed that:

  • Are audience specific e.g. for lay reps or officers
  • Are sector specific, targeting particular types of AI and digital technologies workers may encounter
  • Are introductory, practical and related to familiar means of negotiation, for example equalities, health and safety, pay and conditions as well as specific concerns related to AI and digitalisation such as data protection and copyright.

B. Continue to monitor the development and impact of AI in the workplace and conduct further research

AI applications are rapidly proliferating and changing as the technology evolves. In the absence of clear requirements for employers to divulge what technologies have been deployed, the Wales TUC will need to maintain information-gathering capacity, in order to inform opportunities for action.

This may include:

  • Further focus groups and surveys of workers, by sector and by protected characteristics, including follow ups on the participants of this research.
  • Research in sectors which are likely to be severely affected by AI and where unionisation rates are currently low. This may support a significant opportunity to recruit new workers into the trade union movement.

C. Continue supporting the development and advocacy of trade union policy ideas that protect and extend workers’ rights and workplace empowerment

The current legal regime frustrates the effective empowerment of workers generally, and specifically with regards to digitalisation and AI.

  • Wales TUC will consider how to further support the adoption of new practices and policy initiatives to address this.

D. Support affiliated unions to share experience and best practices on understanding, using and negotiating AI, including its incorporation in collective bargaining agreements

Establishing regular structures for convening affiliates and trade unionists will help to accelerate learning and build capacity across the movement.

  • A regular working group of Welsh affiliates could be established to share and collaborate on AI in the workplace.
  • Developing best practice and sector specific guidance to support affiliate unions to incorporate data, technology and AI related issues into collective bargaining.

Recommendations for the Welsh Government and Workforce Partnership Council

Working in social partnership the Welsh Government and the WPC’s AI working group should:

1. Further develop, promote and monitor the use of guidance for best practice on worker participation

  • Social partners should build on the existing WPC agreement to make a reality of worker engagement on the introduction or deployment of technology in the workplace. These should include a wide spectrum of issues, including equalities, working conditions, skills and transparency.
  • The devolved Welsh public sector should be an exemplar in its adoption of AI. The existing WPC agreement should be implemented in concert with other steps to protect workers and improve services when new technologies are introduced. This includes sufficient training on risks; regular reviews and training on requisite skills.
  • Consider the use of levers for incentivising and rewarding best practices by employers, including through procurement and conditionality for financial support in line with the principles of the Economic Contract between businesses and the Welsh Government.

2. Consider AI’s impact on devolved regulation related to the workplace

  • Develop context-specific understanding and concerns in different domains. For example, educators highlighted that exam boards and others will need to revise procedures to respond to the use of AI.

3. Influence the UK government on non-devolved matters that will affect workers in Wales

Where possible the Welsh Government should engage with non-devolved processes that will affect workers in Wales.

  • Maintain a watching brief on relevant processes and legislation, for example UK government’s Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.
  • Intervene to make representations, and use Welsh Government powers where appropriate to influence non-devolved legislation
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