UK union proposes bill to protect workers from AI risks

The TUC wants the government to regulate AI more firmly and ensure trade union rights.

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the UK has proposed a bill to safeguard workers from the potential risks posed by AI-powered decision-making in the workplace. The government has maintained a relatively light-touch approach to regulating AI, preferring to rely on existing laws and regulatory bodies. The TUC’s proposal seeks to prompt the government to adopt a firmer stance on regulating AI and ensuring worker protection.

According to the TUC, the bill addresses the risks associated with AI deployment and advocates for trade union rights concerning employers’ use of AI systems. Mary Towers, a TUC policy officer, emphasised the urgency of action, stating that while AI rapidly transforms society and work, there are currently no specific AI-related laws in the UK. The proposed bill aims to fill this legislative gap and ensure everyone benefits from AI opportunities while being shielded from potential harm.

Why does it matter?

While the UK government has outlined an approach to AI regulation based on harms rather than risks, the TUC argues for more comprehensive legislation akin to the EU’s AI Act, which is the world’s first legislation to address AI risks. The TUC’s efforts, including forming an AI task force and the proposed AI bill, underscore the pressing need for legislation to protect workers’ rights and ensure that AI advancements benefit all members of society, not just a few.