Following the news that Sports Direct used bogus technology to identify workers who were unhappy with their work environment, Pallet Truck Shop, one of the UK’s leading manual handling equipment firms, has warned warehouses that distrusting workers often leads to worse conditions for both parties.
“Trust is important in any industry, but in a warehouse it’s crucial,” said Phil Chesworth, Managing Director of Pallet Truck Shop. “Workers rely on each other to spot dangers in their environment, but if they suspect that colleagues do not have their best interests at heart, they are likely to be wary around people they should be able to trust.”
Sports Direct has been condemned by Unite, the workers’ union, for offering all workers an electronic survey asking how satisfied or unsatisfied they were with their working environment, and then identifying workers who said they were unhappy by analysing their fingerprints.
Workers who pressed the button saying they were unsatisfied were asked if they were sure, and if they pressed ‘yes’, they would be identified and called up before a manager.
This serves to remind workers that the warehouse they work for can terminate their employment if they express criticism of the way it is run, which only serves to make employees frightened about their future and feeling unable to trust employees who are not acting in the workers’ best interests.
“If this trend continues, warehouse workers will not be happy staying in the industry,” added Phil Chesworth. “It’s very possible that, as e-commerce demand shoots up, it becomes more and more difficult to find staff willing to work for places like that.”
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