A surveillance storm is brewing at Moira Shire offices in Yarrawonga and Cobram after 24 hour security cameras were installed and staff were notified after the event.FIONA BLICK April 23, 2014 1:49pm
Australian Services Union (ASU) representative Billy King told the Chronicle Moira Shire staff had spoken with him, concerned that cameras will now be monitoring them in their workplace.
“We are also concerned cameras have been installed in places we weren’t told about,” Mr King said.
“While I am happy security cameras have been installed for the workers’ safety, I want policies formed around their use.
“I don’t want to see the cameras be used to monitor staff time and motion or to be used for disciplinary reasons.”
The Chronicle received a copy of Director Corporate Governance Alison Coe’s notification to staff of the installation of the security cameras.
“You may have noticed that we have recently installed a number of security cameras, equipped with night vision that will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Ms Coe told staff in an email.
“These cameras were installed to strengthen security for staff and the premises and have been installed inside external doors.”
Ms Coe also said the union had been notified of the instalment and advised they had “no issues with the strengthening of security in this way”.
Mr King confirmed the union was notified however he categorically denies ever saying to Ms Coe or Moira Shire the union “had no issue with it”.
The Yarrawonga Chronicle made a written request to Moira Shire for confirmation of the installation of security cameras in council buildings.
Comments were sent back from the shire’s media department, attributed to Acting Chief Executive Officer Peter Bertolus, saying “security cameras were recently installed at the Cobram and Yarrawonga offices”.
“These 24 hour cameras were installed to strengthen security for staff as part of the organisation’s occupational health and safety obligations,” the attributed quote said.
Moira Shire Mayor Peter Mansfield was quoted this week as saying the cameras were simply for the safety of staff.
“There have been occasions when staff have had to deal with disgruntled ratepayers,” Cr Mansfield said.
Workplace surveillance in Victoria is subject to the Surveillance Devices (Workplace Privacy) Act 2006 [Vic].
Under this legislation, employers cannot use listening devices, optical surveillance devices (such as video cameras) or tracking devices (such as GPS tracking devices) for surveillance of workers in workplace toilets, washrooms, change rooms, or lactation rooms.
In addition, employers are prohibited from communicating or publishing material obtained through surveillance.
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