Junk-Mail Firm Straps GPS Devices To People Handing Out Pamphlets

from the how-low-can-you-go? dept

Down in Australia, a firm that hires teens to deliver junk-mail pamphlets to houses has decided to make their processes a bit more efficient by forcing the kids to wear a GPS device that records all their moves -- making sure they visit the houses they were assigned and do so in the order prescribed by the company. Some of the kids aren't particularly happy about being spied on this way, and apparently the company expected that. With the information pack about the GPS devices, they included a simple resignation form for those who weren't happy about the idea. Again, it seems like this is a modern attempt to bring back Taylorism, the idea that all workplace activities can be scientifically monitored and made more efficient -- as if people were machines. There's nothing wrong with working on ways to make employees more productive, but it needs to occur with the recognition that they're human beings and constantly spying on them and making them feel inadequate tends to hurt productivity more than it helps. It certainly doesn't make for particularly loyal employees. Perhaps that's fine for a business such as a junk-mail pamphleteer, but there is still a cost involved in hiring and training new people, while being able to fill in for those who quit. It's one of those things that sounds good to management (oooh, efficiency! productivity!) but whose consequences aren't carefully thought out. Of course, the firm responds to such charges by including the standard line that no one who is actually a good worker should be upset about being tracked, since it's only designed to spot the bad workers.

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  1. identicon
    CranstonSnord, 3 Nov 2006 @ 3:17am

    Re: In Australia....

    "Most unfair dismissal laws were scrapped in Australia earlier this year. This story is part of a bigger story dominating Australian news services for the past year."

    Except when the company has more than 100 employees (I am familiar with Little Johnny's IR laws). Then it must still be prepared to defend itself if the employee claims unfair dismissal.

    I R'ed the FA in the Herald and it said that PMP Distirbution is the country's largest distibutor of unaddressed mail - and it operates out of a warehouse.
    I would be very surprised if it had less than 100 employees.

    The new never-to-be-sufficiently-damned IR laws also make it clear that a company cannot divide itself into smaller "employment companies" just to get around unfair dismissal law (as lax as it it).

    So I believe it likely that Unfair Dismissal still applies in this case.

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