|Issue No 4||12 March 1999|
How To Foil The Keystroke Cops
Unions are campaigning against the introduction of the spread of real time monitoring of workers' keystroke rates in the finance sector.
The Finance Sector Union says the method of surveillance is spreading across the industry, placing undue stress on workers and undermining teamwork.
The union has already challenged the practice in the National Australia Bank, where a new computer system monitoring keystrokes without consultation with staff was introduced last year.
The system of monitoring, an extension of the Taylorist principles of time-and-motion management, sets arbitrary performance levels and then gives management a detailed analysis of each workers output.
Workers in NAB raised concerns about the impact of the levels on team spirit, self esteem, their quality of work and their health.
FSU state secretary Geoff Derrick says this style of monitoring is de-humanising and makes no reference to the quality of the work done.
While the workers in NAB have managed to negotiate realistic output levels with the help of the FSU, the spread of the IPOD computer system means it won't be the last workplace to face the keystroke police.
FSU member Karen Keegan, who experienced the management technique at NAB says the practise misses the point and neglects the quality of scheme performance.
"At the end of the day, the people who do the work know what is needed to get the job done -- and with teamwork it can be achieved."
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History: The Pioneers: Trade Unions Before 1850
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Review: Opening Spaces For a New Labor
A new book by Sydney academic McKenzie Wark looks at how Labor must adapt to the popular culture.
Campaign Diary: On The Bus - A Tale Of Two Campaigns
As the State election campaign moves into full swing, Workers Online looks at how the management of the media by the two main parties is reflecting their strategies.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005