Our Ref: BR2/4/4
7th May 2020
BODY WORN CCTV – SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY
I am writing with regard the Company’s proposed Body Worn CCTV policy and concerns the Union has about the use of footage against staff in disciplinaries or other punitive action against staff. A trial has been taking place with colleagues using Body Worn CCTV without an agreed policy in place to protect members.
Your National Industrial Organising Conference of Station and Associated Grades 2019 submitted a resolution on Body Worn CCTV demanding an “absolute guarantee that the footage is used for reduction of assaults and prosecutions, not to be used against staff.” The National Executive Committee noted the resolution and I was instructed to seek guarantees that meet members’ aspirations about the use of Body Worn CCTV to that effect.
The Union’s approach to the deployment of Body Worn CCTV that the recordings “will not be used as part of disciplinary action” is a point of principle entirely consistent with the stated purpose of SWR’s proposed Body Worn CCTV policy; however the Company have used ambiguous language alongside restating their compliance with data protection legislation (a minimum necessary requirement of any company policy) to avoid a commitment that footage wouldn’t be used in disciplinaries.
Transport for London, one of the largest employers of transport workers, includes the statement “footage will not be used as part of disciplinary action” in the policy document about the use of Body Worn CCTV agreed with the Union. This is the benchmark that we are employing with the introduction of this technology within the Transport Industry. It is a workable and reasonable position that has been agreed with other employers.
The Company’s current proposals do not align with the purpose of Body Worn CCTV being introduced and could leave you and your colleagues exposed to punitive action through its use.
The National Executive have considered the matter and instructed for negotiations to be entered into as soon as possible with a view to finding agreement on this point. Our Lead Officer and Representatives are acting in accordance with this decision and to work towards a policy document that provides this basic protection to staff from the risk of arbitrary disciplinary action and meets members’ aspirations.
I trust this keeps you fully advised and I will inform you of any further developments on this issue when they arise.