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Engineering good jobs: The EUnited Robotics Good Work Charter

How the Institute's Good Work Charter is being used by European Robotics manufacturers
Headshot of Patrick Schwarzkopf, Director of EUnited Robotics

"When we invited the Institute for the Future of Work to our European Robotics Summit, the assembled leaders of the European robotics industry had their lightbulb moment: After the presentation of the Institute’s Good Work Charter, the participants were struck by the sudden inspiration to work on a human-centric vision of good work specifically from the perspective of robotics.

The decision to develop a Good Work Charter of the European Robotics Industry was taken then and there. The development process was not only hard work, but highly beneficial in itself. A big thank you for inspiring us to take on this challenge from EUnited, the European Engineering Industries Association"
Patrick Schwarzkopf - Managing Director of the VDMA Robotics and Automation Association and Author of the EUnited Robotics Good Work Charter

Debates about the use of robots in the workplace can get lost in the midst of headlines forecasting rampant job loss. But, for most people, increased automation means adapting to working alongside robots. This means we should shift our focus to the ways in which robots and human workers interact in the work place, and makes   technology design a 'good work' issue.

EUnited Robotics is a membership body for the European robotics industry, representing hundreds of manufacturers across the continent. Inspired by the Institute's Good Work Charter, first introduced by our co-chair Naomi Climer at the European Robotics Summit in 2019, the industry decided to develop a robotics specific version, focusing on how to apply the principles of good work to the design and application of robots in the workplace.

The published Charter advocates for a "human-in-command" approach in which robots are applied to assist human work, taking on the the dull, dangerous, dirty and delicate tasks that have a harmful effect on work quality and worker safety and wellbeing.

We are proud that the Institute's Good Work Charter has inspired EUnited Robotics to develop what will become the standard for thinking about work quality in robotics design across European industry.

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