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Union hits out at ‘big brother’ company for using ‘totalitarian’ tech to spy on its workers

“TOTALITARIAN” technology is being used by a company to track the whereabouts of its workers through spy software they are obliged to download to their personal mobile phones.

General union GMB hit out at “big brother” company Churchill Security today for requiring security staff to download the apps.

Many of the workers are paid the minimum wage of £8.21 an hour, as shown by the company’s current “security officer” vacancies.

The company has written to employees saying they are “expected” to use apps that will “track locations” and “update you of shift changes.”

The letter says: “The apps are mainly used to ensure your safety as it is possible to track location and check calls to ensure we know you are always safe.”

It adds: “It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure they have a working mobile phone at all times … disciplinary action may be taken due to an employee failing to comply with mobile phone policies.”

The company, based in Chorley, Lancashire, hires more than 160 people across the country, including in Cardiff Bay, Cheltenham, Watford, Milton Keynes, Bromley, Abingdon and London.

“This is appalling behaviour from a company trying to play big brother to hard-working security guards,” GMB national officer Roger Jenkins said. “Our members are performing a difficult, dangerous job with enormous responsibility.

“These are the people we rely on, the first on the scene after atrocities like Westminster Bridge or the Manchester Arena.

“What they don’t need is employers making their job even harder, expecting them to download spy software onto their personal phones and tracking their every move.

“GMB calls on Churchill to do the decent thing and stop trying to force this totalitarian technology on security staff.”

Churchill Security told the Star  that the company "does not require its employees to download software onto their personal mobile phones" and that employees using the app is on an "opt in" basis.

The company also rejected GMB's allegations of "appalling behaviour" and using "totalitarian technology".

It added: "Churchill Security uses various industry recognised apps to provide welfare checks, automatic patrolling and lone worker checks to ensure our staff are safe at all times.

"Some employees have chosen not to join the scheme and do not use the apps with no issues from any of our management team.

"The data collected and used from the app to servers is all encrypted and geo location only works when the app is in use whilst the employee is on site only (not when they are home, or driving etc).

"We take Data Protection very seriously and comply with our GDPR obligations."

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