Unite the Union have noticed an increasing trend towards excessive surveillance in the energy sector. This includes the use of vehicle monitoring technology and dash cameras at a number of companies, and even real-time streaming video surveillance in some vehicles. Companies are now also pushing for body cameras to be worn. So far, however, unions have been able to successfully resist this.
Unite say that surveillance has caused widespread condemnation from members, especially as management have attempted to utilise the information obtained around less-than-perfect driving in disciplinary hearings. Unite has resisted this and managed to negotiate a situation where only a key manager has the right to view footage but only after they have consulted the lead union representative. The footage is now inadmissible in disciplinary hearings.
In other companies, especially those fitting smart meters, engineers have to use a web-based app to control their call outs and daily work programme. Employers have attempted to set a minimum number of jobs per individual per day but workers have reported that in many cases it is not possible to install this number in the normal working day, and mistakes are being made due to engineers rushing jobs. Again, the union has intervened and agreed that no disciplinary can be based on the number of jobs completed in a day, provided that a report was submitted on the issues encountered by the worker.