||Issue No. 262||06 May 2005|
Rights and Wrongs
Interview: Fortress NSW
Unions: Fashions Afield
Industrial: Pay Dirt
Politics: Infrastructure Blues
History: Big Day Out
International: Making History
Economics: The Fear Factor
Review: The Robots Revolt
Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The Locker Room
Workers Online Legit
The Workplace Surveillance Bill 2005 requires employers to notify workers if there is a policy of monitoring email and internet use and makes any form of covert surveillance a criminal offence unless a magistrate can be convinced there is a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.
While bosses will still be allowed to establish 'white lists' recommending approved websites they can no longer stop employees accessing union generated emails or websites dealing with industrial issues.
Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said it was a case of the law catching up with technology.
"Unions have always had the right to place information on workplace notice boards. The web is the notice board of the twenty first century."
Robertson said there were also numerous examples of employers inappropriately monitoring emails, including blocking off email access for unions during industrial action.
Less than a month ago Suncorp was in the Industrial Relations Commission explaining its decision to use an internet firewall to block access to Workers Online. The company also blocked emails from the Finance Sector Union.
Channel 7 recently made headlines spying on its workers and the list of other employers to indulge in covert electronic spying is long.
"This is a significant break-through for workers in NSW and means they can use emails for reasonable private purposes from work without being secretly spied on," Robertson said.
"It is also good news for workers in rural and isolated areas because it gives them equal access to vital information about their rights."
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