As robots, apps and algorithms change work, what does it mean for unions?
The responses by SA’s trade unions to the threats and opportunities posed by technological change are mixed, say academics, but there are some confronting it
From the rise of a mechanised looms that threatened the future of artisanal textile weavers, to the banking app that is eroding the need for tellers and branches — humans have long had an uneasy relationship with the technologies that change production and the nature of the work they do.
In SA’s often fractious economic landscape, the changes to the world of work pose a particular thorny problem for trade unions. In a world of intensifying automation on assembly lines, and industries where algorithms and apps perform the tasks of people — what are local unions doing to navigate this change?..