Event: Automation, Changing Work, and New Ways of Struggle

Event co-hosted by Conference of Socialist Economists and Contemporary Philosophy of Technology, Birmingham

Speakers: Phoebe Moore (Leicester), Petros Elia (UVW), Susana Benavides (UVW)

9th March 2019, 4-6pm :: Location TBC (followed by a social event)

The world of work is changing. We see rapid moves towards automation, quantified work, precarity, and zero-hour contracts. But at the same time we see new and different ways in which workplace struggle is conducted. This event provides an opportunity for those interested in these different changes - to the workplace and to resistance in the workplace - to come together and discuss recent research and to reflect on ongoing campaigns. The session will focus on research into the changing nature of the (digital) workplace by Phoebe Moore, leading international scholar of the political economy of technology and work, and UVW’s own Petros Elia and Susana Benavides. There will plenty of opportunity for discussion, debate, and plotting the next moves in the struggle against capitalism!

Bios:

Phoebe Moore is Associate Professor of Political Economy and Technology at the University of Leicester. Her research looks at the impact of technology on work from a critical perspective, looking at quantification through wearable tracking and algorithmic decision-making as a set of management techniques, and she recently carried out a prestigious Research Fellowship at the Weizenbaum Institute in Berlin where she focused on the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) within the workplace.

Petros Elia is originally from the UK, and lived in Caracas, Venezuela for 3 years. Upon his return to London, he met with Latin American communities, and saw institutional workplace abuse of migrants. In January 2014 he was a founder member of the United Voices of the World, which has quickly gained an international reputation as one of the most vibrant and militant campainging unions organising mainly migrant workers in London. Recent high profile campaigns have focused on Harrods, LSE and the Ministry of Justice.

Susana Benavides is originally from Ecuador, and moved to Spain after the 1998 banking crisis. When the 2008 crash unfolded, she moved again, this time to London, working as a Topshop cleaner until her unlawful dismissal for demanding a living wage with the support of her union, UVW. The case went to a tribunal in 2018, seeing the employer, Britannia, admit that they had unfairly dismissed her co-claimant (Carolina), whilst stubbornly not conceding the same in Susana's case. Susana is a member of the UVW's non-hierarchal Executive Committee and a key organiser in UVW's ongoing campaigns.

This post will be updated with more information at a later date.