The study is based on a series of interviews with trade union representatives and academics who follow the deployment of data practices and algorithmic systems in the world of work in each of these countries. The study also includes a review of the available literature and case studies. The specter of a contemporary reissue of Taylorism, often evoked by the experts and practitioners we interviewed, had traditionally been associated with the so-called “gig economy” and platform work. It now looms over many more traditional industries, leading to what the UK’s Institute for the Future of Work labelled the “gigification” of work.
To better protect workers’ rights in the context of rising digital monitoring, surveillance and automation of work we recommend to:
- Negotiate the algorithms
- Be transparent to workers
- Consider the far-reaching effects of pervasive surveillance
- Train the negotiators
The pandemic, with its trend towards normalizing digital surveillance both in the workplace and for remote work, further entrenched the phenomenon of being digitally surveilled, datafied and algorithmically managed in the everyday lives of workers in the countries studied. The report focuses on four countries including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, and Poland.
Read the full report
These analyses represent AlgorithmWatch’s contribution to the “Surveillance and Digital Control at Work” project led by Cracked Labs, which is supported by the Austrian Arbeiterkammer. Read the report in full below.