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HANNOVER MESSE 2020, 20 - 24 April
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Robotics

Swiss union admits robot

Labor union “Employees Switzerland” has had its first non-human member since December 1, 2018: by granting membership to a collaborative robot, unionists want to draw attention to unresolved issues in Industry 4.0.

29 Dec. 2018
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Swiss union admits robot (Photo: “Employees Switzerland” association)

According to managing director Stefan Studer , its symbolic acceptance of the humanoid robot as a member is about “questioning the self-image of labor unions”. This is intended to make both members and businesses more aware of unresolved issues relating to digitization and, in particular, with regard to working with cobots.

The market for collaborative robots has grown significantly in recent years. Machines equipped with artificial intelligence and sensitive sensors are already working side by side with human colleagues in many companies. Businesses hope that using such robots will allow them to cope with the skills shortage . But unions fear that in the medium term this could push people out of their jobs. And there are other sticking points to consider: what happens if something goes wrong in this new form of collaboration? Who is liable for the damages? Can robots be placed under an obligation, or might they also have rights? By admitting a robot, the Swiss union hopes to shine more light on questions of this kind.

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