Our Ref: BR2/27/2

20th July 2021

Dear Colleague,


A resolution has been received from our Bristol Branch noting that GWR has proposed, through the Collective Bargaining Machinery, the introduction of a Lone Working App by Athoc. The branch has raised concerns that this technology has capabilities that go far beyond what is required from a system designed to enable a colleague to make an appeal for help in an emergency or so that their absence would be noticed, and emergency help summoned, should an incident occur that incapacitates them.

The Branch has also raised concerns that this App has GPS functionality and the capability of tracking colleagues. Our Bristol Branch feels that there is no present compelling need for such technology. There are also issues surrounding the app and that it is not proposed to be optional, with concerns that it will be linked into the Workforce Management (WFM) system operated by GWR. It is believed that Colleagues will be required to input absence data, therefore, sharing medical records. This raises serious concerns about the protection of sensitive personal data and who may have access to it, both within the company and beyond it through the supplier of the App.

The Union’s National Executive Committee has considered this matter and acknowledged the concerns of our Bristol Branch. As this matter is being processed through the agreed machinery, the NEC has instructed me to place an updated report on the issue and following the conclusion of any discussions. I will be placing all updates before our NEC to consider the matter further.

Therefore, I trust this keeps you fully advised, and I will write to you again once I have further information on the situation.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary