Tom Watson Announces Independent Commission to Examine the Impact of Automation on the Future of Work

tom-watson-automation-future-of-work-commission.pngLabour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP will tell Annual Conference on Tuesday he is setting up a new independent commission into the future of work, with a particular focus on the impact of automation. The commission will be co-chaired by Tom Watson and Helen Mountfield QC.

Tom Watson is also releasing the results of an exclusive YouGov poll, designed in conjunction with Professor Michael Osborne, Professor of Machine Learning and Engineering at Oxford University. The poll shows:

  • More workers support (39%) than oppose (12%) increasing investment in new automation technologies.
  • Yet they also think that they have not been provided with adequate information about the impact of automation on their job by either the government (by 50% to 12%) or their employer (by 40% to 22%).
  • 31% of workers think their productivity will increase as a result of increased automation, while just 7% think it will decrease.
  • Yet despite this, only 6% of workers think their wages will increase as a result of increased automation, while 22% think they will decrease.
  • 34% of workers think increased automation will decrease their job security, compared to 6% who think it will increase.

The commission, who will be co-chaired by Helen Mountfield QC and Tom Watson, will bring together leading figures to consider future work trends in the context of the “fourth industrial revolution” and Brexit. It will focus on assessing the impact and policy implications of automation on labour, although its remit will extend to the interfaces of this topic with others key to understanding the future of labour: the productivity challenge, low wages and globalisation.

Commissioners will include:

  • Helen Mountfield QC - co-chair
  • Tom Watson MP - co-chair
  • Professor Michael Sandel
  • Naomi Climber
  • Professor Jon Cruddas MP
  • Lord Jim Knight