A row has broken out between the AA and the GMB union over claims that the motoring services group is monitoring its call centre staff by using computers to measure their performance.
The AA last week denied newspaper reports that it electronically tags its call centre staff to ensure they do not take too many breaks.
It also rejected claims that its employees only get 82 minutes of free time per shift, to include lunch and refreshment breaks, as well as visits to the toilet.
A spokesman for the AA said: “The actual situation is that an allowance is made for all breaks – refreshment and convenience breaks, staff briefings, training, and so on.
“Eighty-five per cent of the remainder of the shift, that is the available working time, should be spent talking to customers on the phone.”
However, the GMB said it did not accuse the AA of tagging its call centre workers – it said AA staff were subject to “electronic surveillance”.
GMB senior organiser, Paul Maloney, said: “The union has evidence that the AA presented surveillance data to an employment tribunal last week to justify the dismissal of a former employee who was taking a case for unfair dismissal against the AA.
“This surveillance data identified and logged the keystrokes, and phone and other activities of the former call centre employee and this data was used in a disciplinary case and produced at the tribunal,” he said.
Responding to the AA’s statement on the allocation of working time, Maloney said: “This will be news to GMB members and the majority of AA call centre workers whose performances are monitored by the second.”
The AA said its policy on staff monitoring was in line with industry best practice and was no different to many other call centre employers.