Workers Rights Asserted
By Korean Progressive Network, Jinbonet
Source :  BASE21
Guidelines against Workplace Surveillance by the Alliance to Abolish Workplace Surveillance has asserted workers rights to reject employers total impunity in using surveillance of employees at their workplace. The Guide, Workers Have the Right to Reject to be Under Surveillance, summarizes the activities of the Alliance to Abolish Workplace Surveillance (AAWS) in the last 2 years.
The development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has led to a rapid growth of workplace surveillance systems. Because of reported human rights abuses where these surveillance systems are in use, the Guide has been designed as a resource to assist employees who may have to work under such surveillance systems.
The Guide introduces the concept of workplace surveillance and practical approaches to deal with surveillance in the workplace. These include defining what workplace surveillance and personal information of workers are, as well as detailed recommendations regarding how workers should confront recent surveillance technologies such as CCTV, monitoring systems of email and messenger services, Smart Card, ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) and similar technologies. Furthermore, it contains relevant government regulations and refers to actual cases to assist workers in determining their own particular workplace situation. The guide also provides information as how to assess whether or not violations have occurred and the necessary steps workers should take to document and resolve disputes regarding workplace surveillance systems.
According to basic rights stated in the Constitution, employees have the right to secure their own dignity and privacy in the workplace. The right to equipment and labor management is used as the primary supporting argument by companies using workplace surveillance systems. However, this argument cannot justify overriding basic human rights protected by the Constitution. Therefore, companies should not put employees under surveillance without justification for doing so.
Nevertheless, companies are saying it is necessary to establish workplace surveillance systems for security management, prevention of burglary and information leakage. In fact, such systems are often improperly used to observe employees routine behaviours, to pose unfair restrictions on employees time and to collect, record and store employees personal information.
In fact, demands by society for increased safety and security, as well as the development of ICTs, makes the expansion of workplace surveillance an inevitable fact. However, in the absence of relevant regulation, it is illegal to secretly install and manage workplace surveillance systems without any agreement among employees and their employers. Moreover, employees should not be forced to forego personal privacy due to such surveillance systems.
AAWS announced plans to visit workplaces and educate employees regarding problems of workplace surveillance as well as to discuss strategies in dealing with the presence of such systems based on their Guide. While continuing to provide alliance support, AAWS will also provide counselling in the event of an actual abuse.
* Alliance to Abolish Workplace Surveillance
- Worker's Institute for Management Analysis
- Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Minbyun
- Democratic Labor Party
- Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, KCTU
- No Finger-print solidarity
- Korean Progressive Network, Jinbonet
- Korean LaborNet, NodongNet
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