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GMB Seeks Categorical Undertaking from Group4/Securicor that RFID Chips will not be Attached to Security Guards' Uniforms

GMB predicts ‘jackets off’ protests if Big Brother Spy Chips are used in UK.

GMB Union has today written to Group4/Securicor management seeking a categorical assurance that reports emanating from the USA that the company is planning to embed Radio Frequency Identification chips into the smart labels of the uniforms issued to their security workforce are without foundation. GMB is also seeking a categorical undertaking that the company will never use this technology to tag its workforce in the UK.

The GMB in the UK have taken this course of action following on from recent reports that it received from its sister union in the USA the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The company holds its AGM in London today (Thursday) and the SEIU and two other unions including the GMB are lobbying shareholders in an attempt to raise standards in the industry around the world.

Radio Frequency Identification or RFID is a generic term for technologies that use radio waves to automatically identify people or objects. The tag consists of a minuscule chip which transmits identification information to a reader which in turn converts the radio waves into digital information that computers can track. The technology is in use in many countries throughout the world. The privacy issues that it raises have scarcely been debated by the public. Each attempt to use the technology to track people has been controversial and some in the end have been dropped - for example the Inclass school uniforms to monitor attendance.

Paul Kenny, GMB Acting General Secretary said, “There will be ‘jackets off’ protests across the UK security industry if these Spy Chips are used here to tag workers.

Security is a labour intensive business which requires high standards of management, good industrial relations and decent pay and conditions to deliver the high quality service that people need. GMB is seeking a categorical assurance from Group4/Securicor that the reports from the US that they are considering doing this are without foundation. GMB also want the company to give us a categorical undertaking that they will not use this technology to tag their workforce in the UK.

This technology has many uses. However there needs to be an informed public debate about the privacy issues involved before supermarkets and employers start the wide spread use of this technology.”

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