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Telstra May Face Police Probe Over GPS in Australia

August 07, 2007

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Telstra, an Australian telecommunications fleet, could face a police investigation following a report that claims workers were monitored illegally by surveillance devices in their vehicles, according to the Web site www.theage.com.au.

Victorian Workplace Rights Advocate Tony Lawrence said he had serious concerns that some Telstra employees did not genuinely consent to the installation of GPS devices last year. He is also concerned that Telstra may have breached the SDA (Surveillance Device Act).

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia (CEPU) claimed that technicians were threatened with dismissal as they were monitored in their work vehicles. CEPU Victorian secretary Len Cooper said it was a criminal act to install vehicles with tracking devices without permission from the workers.

Cooper said a report released by Lawrence suggests Telstra breached the enterprise bargaining agreement and occupational health and safety laws. He said the workers experienced enormous stress to meet expectations while being monitored. Cooper said there was a breach in the law, which needed a police investigation.

But Telstra spokesman Brent Hooley said despite the company’s cooperation in the investigation, the Workplace Rights Advocate is wrong, according to the Web site www.theage.co.au. Hooley said Telstra was confident investigations would “completely clear” the company over the claims.

Cooper said the matter had been referred to ComCare to determine how the affected workers could be compensated. He also said the union’s lawyers would discuss the possibility of prosecution and industrial action was being considered.

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