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British employees sabotage robots for fear of having their job removed, according to study

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British employees sabotage the
robots that have been incorporated into the work centers for fear of having their position taken away, making it difficult for them to carry out their activities or without interacting with them, as reflected in a study by the University of Monfort, in Leicester (United Kingdom).

A study by the Professor of Labor, Employment and Skills, Jonathan Payne, of the University of Monfort de Leicester, and Caroline Lloyd, of the University of Cardiff (United Kingdom), has indicated that the British "seem to have a problem with the diffusion and assumption of technology, "in Payne's words.

The professor has stated that "we have heard stories of employees that hindered the work of robots, and minor acts of sabotage," he also says that "they are not followed by the flow."

Payne blames him for the fact that British businesses are less likely to understand their workers and explain why they want to use machines in the work environment. This, he says, can lead to a high level of
resentment towards robots.

The study, titled
Rethink the effects of the country: robotics, Ia and labor futures in Norway and the United Kingdom, comparing the use of robots in health aspects in the United Kingdom and Norway, has concluded that British workers are opposed to the introduction of robots in the workplace. In contrast to Norway, where they are so accepted that they even receive affective names and are welcomed by employees.

The reason that leads these workers to sabotage robots in the United Kingdom is the fear of losing their jobs. An Oxford Economics report shows that around 2.25 million jobs in the world have been replaced by robots, three times more than twenty years ago. In addition, he predicts that by 2030 the machines will have replaced around 20 million people.

Workplaces already exist where robots have been introduced as an employee rather than a person, as is the case of supermarket cashiers that are being replaced by machines that do the same job, or of robots that they patrol the facilities instead of the guards or who do delivery work.

The lack of communication of the companies with the employees, and of explanations about why they want to introduce robots, can lead to a higher level of resentment towards the robots, added to the one that causes the replacement of the job itself, which sometimes has result in alleged attacks on the machines, such as that of a patrol robot developed by KnightScope that ended up sunk in a source "in strange circumstances", as picked up by The Telegraph, or attempted robberies, such as those reported by Starship Technologies of the delivery machines.

Sabotages during the Industrial Revolution

However, these British employees are not pioneers in the act of sabotage against the machines, because already in the Industrial Revolution, in the 19th century, similar acts were carried out, as Raymond August collects in his Corpus Juris Roboticum study.

According to the professor of industrial robotics at the Berenschot Training Management Center in the Netherlands, Gerrit Nijland, British workers sabotaged the new textile machines for fear that they would replace them in their work tasks and take away their jobs. . Nijland states that the most common forms of sabotage were to slow down the machines by introducing parts in a different order than the appropriate one.

On other occasions, he explains, the workers incorrectly repaired the robots, lost loose parts or put sand in the oil that lubricated the machines to make them work. "By carrying out these acts, the workers hoped to create dissatisfaction in robot management," says the professor.

According to August, the origin of these sabotages lies in the fear of workers losing their jobs by being replaced by machines, a fact reinforced by analysts who paint a defeatist image economically for workers.

To protect themselves from this, some unions demanded concessions to companies for workers. Thus, Nissan Motor Company signed an agreement in 1983 with its 47,000 members that will prohibit the company from firing its workers when it will incorporate robots or other types of automation technologies related to its facilities.

The first commercial robot was launched by Unimation in 1961 and in 1988, year of the August study, there are already between 15,000 and 80,000 robots in the world, more than half in Japan and the rest distributed between the United States and Western Europe . All of them were used both at work and domestic level.

In the labor field, it was the automobile companies that began to introduce these new machines in their establishments. Thus, in 1988 Volkswagen already had 550 robots in its automobile installations and General Electric was manufacturing seven different models for use in all types of assembly areas. In addition, the Hero 1 Personal Robot of Halth Company was already becoming popular with Rolls Royce.

In the August study he assures that these industrial robots were then simple aesthetic mechanical devices with electronic controls with which they can be reprogrammed to fit different types of jobs. Others were mobile devices capable of performing dangerous tasks for humans.

Thus, he explains that one of the robots that so far – within the framework of his study – had received the most dangerous task was the so-called 'truck' recruiting robot of the British Navy that was remotely controlled and had a gun. On April 30, 1984, the device ended with a two-week siege at the Libyan embassy in London by knocking down its door.