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Post and telecommunications trade council: stop surveillance of employees in call centres


28 Oct 2011


Social Europe & Jobs

“The systematic surveillance of staff in call centres is an absolute scandal,” says Manfred Wiedner, President of the CESI post and telecommunications trade council. In many businesses, the employers exploit their powers of con-trol well beyond the legally permitted scope. This is an unacceptable state of affairs. “If employers delve far into the private spheres of their staff, something is going extremely wrong,” the trade council president criticised. His deputy and telecommunications workgroup leader Horst Sayffaerth believes the measures jeopardise social harmony. “A fundamental relationship of trust must prevail between employee and employer. Large-scale surveillance per-manently impairs this, if it does not destroy it altogether.”

“Employers have various control options, some of which are used without the knowl-edge of the staff or their industrial representatives,” Horst Sayffaerth complained. As well as direct checking of performance by superiors, electronic systems are also used – with considerable risks for the staff. “The control systems are frequently abused,” Manfred Wiedner adds. Even if this is not stipulated in the laws, the surveillance mechanisms are also used to check performance and behaviour. This frequently has negative effects on the pay and the general assessment of staff.

Furthermore, the governments of their states sometimes prevent the trade unions from working against these abuses. Trade unions are often excluded from the na-tional social dialogue, as new scales of representation are deliberately established. “Many trade unions are hampered in their work, with no regard for fundamental worker rights. The decisions on representation need to be justifiable and appropri-ate,” Wiedner requests the governments of the member states to change direction. All trade unions represented in the businesses should be involved in the dialogue, irrespective of size.

Background: from 6th to 9th October, around 40 employee representatives from Euro-pean post and telecommunication companies met in Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina to provide information about the situation in the call centres of the indi-vidual countries and to agree a common position.



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