The AA has denied allegations that it plans to electronically tag its call centre staff to ensure they do not take too many breaks.
According to a report in today’s Guardian, nearly 3,000 AA call centre staff are to be monitored by computers to measure their performance.
The report said the move forms part of a performance-related pay deal whereby workers get a total of 82 minutes’ free time, to include lunch, tea breaks and visits to the lavatory.
The GMB union criticised the reported move, saying workers were being treated “like battery hens”.
But a spokesman for the AA said the quoted total of 82 minutes’ free time is “wholly inaccurate” and is based on the wrong assumption that 85% of the employee’s total shift is to be spent ‘online’ on the phone. He also denied that the company would electronically tag staff.
“The actual situation is that an allowance is made for all breaks, refreshment and convenience breaks, staff briefings and training and so on, and that 85% of the remainder of the shift, that is the available working time, is to be spent on the phone talking to customers,” he said.
All working practices are agreed in full consultation with the AA’s recognised trade union, the AA Democratic Union (AADU), the spokesman added.
The GMB ceased to be the AA’s recognised trade union in March 2005 following the establishment of the AADU.