Ireland Government

Unions warn against threats of AI and Brexit to worker rights


Trade unions have vowed to oppose any move by employers to use technological advances in robotics, automation and artificial intelligence as tools to exploit workers. Unions also pledged to fight any Government plan to restrict the right to strike in some essential services, as proposed recently by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The biennial conference of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in Belfast also passed a motion calling for the Government to introduce legislation to give union officials the right to enter workplaces to represent, organise and recruit workers. In an address to the conference, Ictu general secretary Patricia King also urged the Government to scrap the existing reduced VAT rate for the hotel and food services sector, which she described as "completely untenable". She said three-quarters of all workers in the accommodation and food services sector earned less than €400 per week.