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NSW Retail Union Wants Workplace Surveillance Laws Overhauled

As Amazon warehouse workers buckle down for what will no doubt be the busiest workday of the retail year, SDA NSW, the union for retail, fast food and warehouse workers, are calling for an overhaul to the state’s surveillance laws, which they claim are woefully out of date.

SDA NSW Secretary Bernie Smith said workers at Amazon were “coming off second best to algorithms and machines” as efficiency outstrips basic human rights.

“Amazon warehouse or delivery worker don’t have to imagine living in the Matrix, their work life today is already controlled by the algorithm and closely monitored,” he said.

“The pressures of the pandemic have exposed how the company put profit ahead of the happiness and health of its workers and long-term sustainable workloads for people.”

“This is why the SDA is today calling for a tightening of workplace surveillance laws which haven’t been upgraded in NSW for 20 years.”

Smith pointed out that the last changes in the laws were made “more than half a decade before the first iPhone, let alone the digital technology, drones and algorithms” that are in the modern workplace.

“This toxic culture of machine-centric productivity and surveillance is only set to worsen over coming years if this is not addressed now. The NSW Government must protect all warehouse workers and workplaces from toxic surveillance cultures and unreasonable monitoring and surveillance.”


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