Union slams proposals to install webcams in workers’ homes

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) leaders are concerned that local call centres may adopt a plan to put webcams at the desks of home-based workers.

Promoted by CWU West Yorkshire
Monday, 10th May 2021, 10:47 am
Thousands of call centre workers have been working from home during the pandemic

Thousands of call centre workers have been working from home during the pandemic and although, for many, there have been some benefits without the daily commute those benefits may be insignificant if the cost will be to have a webcam in your home.

Call centre company Teleperformance, which has offices in Glasgow and across the world, hit the headlines in April with their plans to introduce webcams into the homes of staff working from home.

The company’s aim is to create a "highly collaborative and engaged workforce".

However, the CWU Scotland Regional Secretary Craig Anderson said of the Teleperformance plans that "from an ethical and moral perspective it's an invasion of privacy”.

The CWU has been at the forefront of unionising call centres since the industry began.

CWU West Yorkshire branch, Assistant Secretary, Mark Elwen said: “It has always been an industry where targets and monitoring have been commonplace and too often poor management practices have exacerbated this. But this is potentially a step too far.

“With a number of call centres in our region we are very concerned that other employers will be watching this and trying to impose similar.”

Teleperfomance say the webcam would purely be used for collaboration purposes in the UK and South Africa, and “at no time will we be using the tools to spy on our staff”.

The company claims the technology will be used for workers who feel isolated and to operate a clear desk policy, but the CWU is concerned the primary use of the technology will be to monitor staff.

“We’ve seen how technology has been used before in call centres,” adds Mark. “Monitoring people to the exact second, people told they can’t have a toilet break. It’s obvious what employers will want to use this for, and it won’t be for the benefit of their workers.”

Join the CWU’s West Yorkshire branch at www.cwu.org/join-us