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What the unions say about vehicle tracking

Most large workforces in the UK are at least partially unionised. Even where no union activity exists, workers can be galvanised into action by any changes they feel impact negatively on their conditions, pay, or job security. Under such circumstances a workforce can become both heavily unionised and quite militant very quickly. Fleet vehicle tracking is just the kind of controversial issue that can create strong divides between management and the workforce.

Stepping back from the threat of union action for a moment, it is also worth pointing out that a disgruntled and dissatisfied workforce is a one that is delivering less then their full potential at work. Nobody wants to work in a confrontational environment, either as a manager or as a driver, and under poor conditions co-operation and hence the smooth running of a company will always suffer.

Unite, which is the largest trade union in the UK, covers most of the unionised professional drivers in the country. They are very much aware of vehicle tracking as an issue and have created and released guidelines for employers considering installing fleet vehicle tracking hardware and software. These do not explicitly condemn the practice of tracking and tracing company cars and vans, but lay down some very useful advice on implementing it smoothly and to the satisfaction of all concerned- management, shareholders, and the workforce. Abiding by (or at least being aware) of them can help avoid conflict with the workforce.

The guidelines advise telling the drivers on staff about the proposed fleet management scheme, and being as up-front as possible about what will and will not be traced. They also emphasise the importance of making it very clear to drivers what the rules are regarding usage of company vehicles to avoid any possible unknowing misuse. It is also necessary to abide by the laws governing data protection and privacy, as the information generated by fleet vehicle tracking does fall within the remit of these pieces of legislation.

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