Algorithmic Management is radically changing the way we are managed at work – IER report launch (video)

Authors Professor Philippa Collins and Dr Joe Atkinson spoke at the event at the NEU on Thursday 6th June

12 Jun 2024| News

Launch of ‘Algorithmic Management and a New Generation of Rights at Work’

Technology has revolutionised the world of work over the past 30 years. Now its radically changing the way that people are managed at work, from how they are hired and fired to how their work is allocated, monitored and evaluated.

The increasing use of complex algorithmic management tools to automate or augment functions traditionally carried out by human managers poses a significant threat to workers’ rights, working conditions, and ability to exercise their agency in the workplace.

In a new report published by the Institute of Employment Rights, authors Dr Joe Atkinson and Dr Philippa Collins argue that existing employment law frameworks are inadequate to meet the challenges posed be these applications of ‘artificial intellegence’ in the workplace.

They contend a new regulatory framework is urgently needed for the governance of AI at work. The proposed framework gives workers a genuine say in how algorithmic management systems are used and implemented. It also provides workers with the rights needed to protect against, and ensure appropriate accountability for, the potential harms of these technologies.

Against the background of the EU Platform Work Directive, and the current Government’s plans to weaken existing data protection standards in the UK, the report rejects a laissez faire approach to regulating new technologies in the workplace and instead makes the case for proactive legal reforms that should be adopted by an incoming Labour Government.

In opening the event, Acting Director of the IER, James Harrison, said:

“The tech industry at large is under constant scrutiny for its consistent anti-worker attitudes and excess intensification of work, or ‘crunch’ as they call it. This term has probably received the most prevalence in some of the headlines around anti-worker and anti-union employers in the videogame industry. However, the concerns on workers’ rights aren’t just confined to the tech or videogame industries themselves, they are now leaking in to other industries that have either taken up technology, smart tech or algorithms to manage staff. This is the situation we find ourselves in now.”


James Harrison: Acting Director of the Institute of Employment Rights.

• Authors Professor Philippa Collins (University of Bristol) and Dr Joe Atkinson (University of Southampton).

Mike Clancy: General Secretary of Prospect, and TUC spokesperson on AI.

Anna Thomas: Director and Co-Founder of Institute for the Future of Work.

Nicola Countouris: Professor of Labour Law and European Law at UCL, and previously Director of Research at the ETUI.


You can read more about the publication and access a pdf version of it here.


Watch the video of our launch event here: