An online survey of 1,000 workers in Great Britain for the trade union Community and Fabian Society projected that 10 million people were worried their jobs would change for the worse.
The survey, which looked at workers’ views and expectations about technology, also reported that almost a quarter (23%) of workers were worried that their current job might not exist in 10 years due to automation.
“The digital revolution means technology and jobs are changing faster than ever,” said Yvette Cooper MP, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, who will chair a two-year commission to identify the immediate actions that government, employers and trade unions need to take to support workers as new technology affects their job functions.
“This survey found that almost a quarter of workers are worried that their job will no longer be needed,” she said.
“And whilst it found that most people are optimistic that they will be able to change and update their skills, they also say they are not getting any help or support to train or adapt, [either] from the government, their employer or a trade union.
“It is vital that action is taken now to ensure changing technology doesn’t widen inequality and to make sure all workers feel the benefits,” said Cooper.
Commenting on the survey results, Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, said: “These figures should serve as a wake-up call for all trade unions. The vast majority of workers in unionised workplaces do not believe we are supporting them to cope with technological change.
“Automation cannot simply be opposed, rather it should be made to work in the interests of working people. Our members are already dealing with the consequences of automation being managed badly. Government and businesses need to step up too, but trade unions have a central role to play.