File image: Steve Lawrence/Independent Media

FREE STATE - During its socialist forum, COSATU Free State aimed to create a deeper understanding of the future of work within the context of the fourth industrial revolution.

The union said their initial take is that "the upcoming revolution would be a very sad development in the history of employment relations."

According to a statement by COSATU, it requires a very determining action as it might wipe out many job opportunities as workers may be replaced by machines and computers.

"We noted that historically technological advancements in the workplaces have always been driven by the need to produce more with less and maximising profits. We have taken note that automation is being planned to replace workers in various workplaces, which would result is seriously reduced number of workers," COSATU stated.

A reduced number of workers means that there would be a reduced number of consumers with buying power and this according to Cosatu will result in a decreased demand with overproduction being the case in the global economy falling into a serious recession.

They also said that in some cases employers are making use of automatic equipment "as part of the union bashing tactic to cut back on the bargaining power of trade unions so that they continue with exploitation of workers at will."

According to COSATU the market drivers are creating a crisis for itself by actively reducing the number of consumers that earn salaries and have the buying power to have disposable cash and create demand for demands. 

"The capitalists system has forced us to work to provide for our needs by commodifying the basic human needs and they will not have it easy in attempting to take our right to work away, in essence they are taking away our right to live," COSATU added

"In its current form the current automation would be tantamount to an Armageddon for the workers ,as there will be no more massive job losses in many sectors  of our economy ;whilst the population continues to grow."

The union said they will be going to the locals to empower them on what the fourth capitalist revolution in the form of automatic equipment has in store for them as workers and the working class in general.