Councillor calls for authority to help with training for workers replaced by machines

Councillor Gareth Eales wants to see the council set aside finances to potentially help improve and train workers
Councillor Gareth Eales wants to see the council set aside finances to potentially help improve and train workers

Northampton Borough Council should ‘find the finance’ in order to train workers who have been replaced by machines with additional skills.

A motion by former mayor and Labour councillor Gareth Eales will be raised at full council on Monday (November 5) calling on the authority to assist with the training by employers and agencies.

Supported by Labour leader Danielle Stone, Councillor Eales says that the ‘technological advancements of recent decades have much in common with the effects of the Industrial Revolution in the latter part of the 18th century’.

He adds: “Both movements accelerated the displacement of workers by machines that could perform tasks faster, more accurately and 24/7. While technology enables business owners to reduce overheads by downsizing their workforce, individuals whose skill sets are now obsolete have limited options for employment if their current jobs are eliminated.

“Given that Northampton has a large proportion of warehousing and transport as its employment base, both of which face the introduction of new technology and automation in the near and medium future, this equates to at least 37 per cent of workers in fear of their job.”

He calls on the authority to ‘start to prepare and find the finance to allow for upskilling of workers’.

Other suggestions include ‘planning for the future to deal with the implications of new technology as it is introduced’, and organising a symposium on the future of employment and the local economy with the University and employers.

The motion will require the support of the ruling Conservative party if it is to progress any further at The Guildhall.