Summer 2024 events

Here are some events put on by organisations our branch is affiliated with, or which form part of the trade union calendar.

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Artificial Intelligence and workers’ rights

By Tony Burke, Campaign for Trade Union Freedom.

This article was originally published in the Morning Star.

The Trade Union Congress’s special task force report on Artificial Intelligence and Employment Rights Bill was launched at the TUC Congress House in London on April 18th. Comprising of the TUC, the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy at the University of Cambridge, unions academics and employment rights specialists the task force was set up to try to secure proper regulation of AI and algorithmic management in order to halt the UK’s tech sector from becoming the ‘wild west’ of the economy.

You can read the full report with the draft bill here.

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AI: Threats & Opportunities For The Media

Free online event: April 25th 6–7.30pm

The disruptive power of artificial intelligence worries people working in the media. Threats to the media from AI hit the headlines with two long-running strikes in Hollywood last year. Now the New York Times has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, two of the most prominent names in the AI industry, accusing them of using its articles without permission to train their artificial intelligence systems.

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Video: Resisting the latest anti-strike laws

Unite London Digital & Tech branch meeting, 14 March 2024.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 is a major attack on workers’ rights. In this video Ian Allinson explains the background to the Act, what it means for unions and how we can beat it.

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Resisting the latest anti-strike laws

What is the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act and why does it matter?

This new law introduces minimum service level (MSL) regulations in six industries: health, fire and rescue, education, transport, border security, and nuclear decommissioning and waste. The regulations specify the level of service to be maintained during industrial action, and employers can then apply this to any action taken by their workers by making the trade union ‘break its own strike’. So far employers in one high-profile dispute, of ASLEF train drivers, backed down from using the laws, but we can’t be complacent.

We are inviting all members of Unite the Union to join the first half of our branch meeting on Thursday 14 March at 6.30pm to discuss this attack on our rights. Register on Zoom.

What should we build AI for? An insider’s view

Unite London Digital & Tech branch meeting, 11 January 2024.

Introduction by Claire Vernade, Group Leader at the University of Tübingen, Germany, in the Cluster of Excellence Machine Learning for Science. Claire is an ex-member of Unite, having previously worked building AI in industry.

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Protect the right to strike – oppose the Strikes Act

Unite is organising free coaches for members to the demonstration in Cheltenham on Saturday 27 January against the Strike (Minimum Service Levels) Act, which will force unions to scab on their own industrial disputes. Our branch will be sending a delegation to show our solidarity with the campaign. Get in touch if you want to … Read more

Artificial intelligence meeting series: join the discussion!

Over the next months we’re dedicating the first half of our branch meetings to the subject of artificial intelligence. We’ve got a number of speakers lined up to give us a 20-25 minute introduction, which will be followed by free discussion. We feel that as technologists we have useful things to say about the profound impact AI is having on society, including on our working lives, and that our branch is an ideal place to host these debates.

Branch meetings are only open to branch members or invited guests such as our guest speakers. You can join Unite the Union here.

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Summer 2023 events

We’re encouraging members to take part in these events over the summer:

National Shop Stewards Network conference

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) is holding its conference on Saturday 24 June in Conway Hall, London between 11am and 4.30pm. From the NSSN’s bulletin:

The last year has proven that striking works, but the cost of living squeeze on workers is unrelenting. Alongside how to build solidarity with the current strikes, key questions for discussion at the Network conference will therefore include:

• How can we be better prepared for inevitable future strikes?

• It is possible to ‘all strike together’ in a 24-hour general strike?

• How can we fight the threat from the latest Tory undemocratic anti-union ‘minimum service’ legislation?

Hundreds of thousands of workers have been on strike for the first time. Many hundreds if not thousands have become workplace reps or stewards for the first time. Our conference will bring together active rank-and-file trade unionists – both new and longstanding – from across the whole of the trade union movement, including every union that has been involved in strike action. All union members are very welcome to attend and to fully participate in the discussion.

You can register on the day or by emailing info@shopstewards.net. Members of Unite London Digital & Tech who attend can claim their attendance fee and travel expenses from the branch.

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Unite Executive Council election

Our branch nominated the following candidates at our meeting on 12 January 2023.

All candidates’ addresses and other details of the election can be found on the CES website. Ballots are being dispatched from Friday 27 March 2023 and voting closes at noon on Tuesday 25 April 2023. Members who have not received a ballot paper by 13 April 2023 should contact the ballot enquiry service by emailing support@cesvotes.com.

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Support your local picket line!

Union members everywhere are having to take strike action, often over terms and conditions but overwhelmingly over pay. The cost of living crisis is driving this. The Consumer Price Index is at over 10%, and food and drink costs have gone up 16.8% in the last year. We want to play our part in supporting … Read more

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