The TUC has published a new report on the future of work which concludes that new technology could pave the way for shorter hours and higher pay for working Brits.
New technology like AI, automation and robotics could boost UK GDP by at least £200bn in the next decade. But the TUC report reveals that most UK workers (51%) expect that the benefits of new technology will be hoarded by managers and shareholders, rather than shared fairly between managers, shareholders and workers (34%).
The TUC says the UK should consider how to move to a four-day week over the course of this century in order "to share the gains of increased prosperity". Eight in ten workers (81%) want to reduce working time in the future and 45% of workers would like a four-day working week, without loss of pay.
Full-time workers in the UK put in some of the longest hours in the EU, behind only Austria and Greece. The number of people working seven days a week has now reached more than 1.4 million.
Most workers (74%) want technology to give them more control over their working lives. However, technology has facilitated an "always on" culture. The TUC wants action to tighten working time rules, ban zero-hours contracts and give workers fair notice of their shifts.
Two-thirds (66%) of workers expect that automation will lead to work becoming faster-paced and more intensive; 72% expect they will be more closely monitored by bosses.
But workers are positive about what could be achieved if technological change is managed in the right way, including fewer dangerous jobs (68%), more creative work (68%), more enjoyable work (66%), and more use of interpersonal skills (66%).
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Bosses and shareholders must not be allowed to hoover up all the gains from new tech for themselves. Working people deserve their fair share - and that means using the gains from new tech to raise pay and allow more time with their families. If productivity gains from new technology are even half as good as promised, then the country can afford to make working lives better."