NFU News

European Banking Sector Social Partners Unite to Sign Historic Joint Declaration on AI

In a historic move, trade unions and the banking sector in the EU signed a joint declaration in Brussels yesterday, May 14th. This declaration empowers workers to have a seat at the bargaining table in every stage of artificial intelligence’s decision-making and implementation process.

Along with social partners from European and national levels, Nordic Financial Unions convened to witness this momentous occasion. The joint declaration on Employment Aspects of Artificial intelligence, inked by UNI Europa and European bank employers EBF, EACB, and ESBG, is a pioneering move within the EU banking sector.

The declaration, inked yesterday during the final conference of the ’Banking in 2030’ project in Brussels, paves the way for ongoing dialogue on AI and signifies the result of extensive collaboration among the European social partners. It addresses the sector’s dynamic challenges and opportunities in responsibly implementing AI processes and systems.

AI comes with risks and opportunities, and we must ensure that it’s implemented and used responsibly at the workplace. Social dialogue at all levels, including collective bargaining, is an effective and positive tool for addressing AI’s impact in the workplace, ensuring that it will work for the benefit of both workers and companies.

Remarked Michael Budolfsen, President of UNI Europa Finance and NFU, who was among the signatories of the declaration.

At NFU, we are deeply grateful for the unwavering commitment to social dialogue demonstrated by our European social partners at all levels. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the social partners involved, particularly UNI Europa Finance, for their tireless efforts and for reaching this declaration. This shows the strength of European trade union work and bank employers’ commitment to engaging in social dialogue. Now, the focus shifts to local implementation, ensuring that the dialogue persists both within the sector and at the company level. The joint declaration on AI serves as a guiding light, steering the banking industry towards a future where AI is harnessed responsibly for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Key highlights of the Joint Declaration include:

Definition of Artificial Intelligence: Providing a comprehensive understanding, in line with the EU definition in the AI Act, of AI and its principal features, emphasising the importance of transparency and human oversight in its deployment.

Social Dialogue: Social dialogue at all levels, including collective bargaining, represents an effective and positive tool for addressing the impact of new technologies and digitalisation in the workplace. The European Social Partners undertake to continue monitoring and analysing the related effects, as well as the diversified evolution of work organisational models.

Current Status and Responsible Use: Acknowledging the increasing prevalence of AI in the banking sector and advocating for a responsible, transparent, and unbiased approach to its deployment, particularly in human resources-related functions.

Health and Safety: Regarding the use of AI systems, the European Social Partners recommend regularly performing joint Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) risk assessments that include the effects of algorithmic management.

Training and Digital Competence Development: Highlighting the necessity of continuous upskilling and reskilling to adapt to the evolving digital landscape and bridge the digital divide to have a workforce fit for the future. The European Social Partners strongly encourage the European Commission and national governments to fund such training opportunities.

You can find the joint declaration on AI here: Joint Declaration on Employment Aspects of Artificial Intelligence

Read more about the final conference of the project ”Banking in 2030” here: European Social Partners for the Banking Sector Sign New Joint Declaration on Artificial Intelligence

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