11 Mar

UASA Media Release: 11 March 2024

In Picture: Participants of the Workshop: on protecting workers’ digital rights;  at FES TUCC House in Johannesburg.

Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:

UASA, as part of organised labour, is attending a workshop on protecting workers’ digital rights hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) TUCC together with the Why Not Lab and ALT Advisory focusing on assisting unions to face the challenges that the digitalisation of the workplace is posing.

Because digitisation has taken over the labour space, the Why Not Lab and ALT advisory has developed a tool to bring workers’ digital rights to them as they map the digital technologies used in their workplaces and negotiate for more substantial rights. The tool aims to help workers access and apply their digital rights in South African workplaces.

The two-day workshop discusses how workers’ rights are affected and undermined in the digitalisation process. Secondly, it will present and explain the tailor-made tool that can be used to identify where digital rights might be violated and how this can be rectified.

The workshop identified job security and worker privacy as key factors resulting from digitisation in the workforce in South Africa and across the world.

Christina Colclough, workshop coordinator and founder of the Why Not Lab, explained that employers and labour organisations must help prioritise technology, digitalisation, and job protection in sectors and industries.

“If an employer or organisation invests capital on a new technology in the workplace, they should also ensure that capital is invested in upskilling and training their employees with new skills that align with the new technology to prevent job losses or a knowledge gap between workers and technology,” explained Colclough.

Colclough further explained that digitisation should not be allowed to work against workers’ rights and that it is essential to integrate technology into occupational health and safety regulations as well. To balance gender equality in training, organisations and employers must ensure that training sessions are conducted during working hours to accommodate all workers.

UASA believes that unions are crucial agents that can liaise with higher-level organisations and negotiate fair and unbiased transitions with employers to ensure that no job losses transpire if there are sustainable ways to prevent that outcome.

UASA is attending the workshop in affiliation with IndustriALL Global Union.

For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.



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