For anyone returning to their usual place of work, being consulted about whether or not to return, or with questions about safety we recommend watching this video from the multi-disciplinary group of scientists Independent SAGE. Their weekly briefings feature questions from the public. It’s up to us to be informed, in case our employers aren’t.
Many employers are normalising homeworking arrangements for their entire or a portion of their workforce. This is clearly necessary in order to minimise the potential for Covid-19 to spread, but it should not be at the cost of employees’ physical or mental wellbeing. By law employers have a duty of care to their workers, regardless … Read more
At our Zoom branch meeting on Thursday 9 July we’ll be hearing from a bus driver about the impact of Coronavirus and the challenges transport workers face as the lockdown is eased. All branch members are welcome to attend and take part in our discussions – you don’t have to be experienced to contribute! Members … Read more
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT continues to produce very useful analyses of the tech industry workforce. A recent report on diversity is a must-read. The first part is based on their own research and the second on Office for National Statistics data:
The top line results do not make for rosy reading. Only 13% of respondents consider that their organisation makes it a high priority to have a diverse team, with 31% feeling it is relegated to a low priority status. That perception does not fit very well with the well-known benefits of developing with diverse teams — also reflected in this survey — where 49% considered that teams who lack diversity would build AI applications with biased decision-making (only 14% thought this wasn’t a problem). Gender and age are perceived to be the main diversity barriers to getting a first job in IT, but when it comes to progressing a career gender comes out as a clear leader. Worryingly, 36% of respondents consider themselves to have been the victim of prejudice or discrimination in their workplace in the last 12 months. When taken with the fact that a full third of respondents have received no diversity training of any kind, that is maybe unsurprising. And, when looking from the outside in, 44% consider that they have witnessed another person as a victim.
Here is a great interview with author Wendy Liu discussing her book Abolish Silicon Valley, in which she investigates the role of tech firms within capitalism. Wendy memorably describes startups which build things like call-centre automation as producing “worker immiseration as a Service”.
Abolish Silicon Valley is available from Repeater books.
Millions of us are now working from home. If WordPress and Tumblr CEO Matt Mullenweg is to be believed, this is a great thing: “Millions of people will get the chance to experience days without long commutes, or the harsh inflexibility of not being able to stay close to home when a family member is sick… This might be a chance for a great reset in terms of how we work”. Yet the experience of many of us is quite the opposite. Working from home can place intolerable burdens on those with caregiving responsibilities. Those living alone face isolation. Many people’s homes are simply not suited to working from home (perhaps due to something as mundane as a poor broadband connection). And “working from home” can become “living in the office”, with consequences for our mental health.
This article from Australia nails it: Flexibility now means “just make this work!”
- The international union federation UNI Global has published this on the “right to disconnect” – the right to maintain a separation between the working day and our own time: https://uniglobalunion.org/sites/default/files/imce/right_to_disconnect_covid19.pdf
- ACAS, the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, provides a useful summary of the rights of home-workers: https://www.acas.org.uk/working-from-home
- Whilst we’re sceptical of articles containing “productivity hacks” this series does contain useful information on various aspects of working from home: https://workinmind.org/tag/working-from-home/
The latest booklet from the Labour Research Department (LRD) is “Monitoring and surveillance at work – a practical guide for trade union reps”With the largest ever work-from-home mobilisation ever seen in this country, we are now more reliant than ever on technology to keep us connected. Technology is now essential to how many of us … Read more
The next meeting will be held on 11/04/2019 at 19:00 in the Unite Moreland Street Office. 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB The nearest Tube Station is Angel (Northern Line) AGENDA 1. Apologies for absence 2. Minutes from the previous meeting 3. Matters Arising from the Minutes 4. Treasurers Report 5. Trades Council & Constituency … Read more