News: UK Union Criticizes Modern Warehouse Technology

June 1, 2005
GMB (London), a U.K. trade union with more than 600,000 members, recently demanded an end to the "electronic tagging" of workers.

Specifically, the group decried the use of handheld computers linked to local area networks to tell employees which goods to pick. The organization's primary objection is the work monitoring capabilities of such devices.

"This technology which involves the electronic tagging of workers has been imported into Britain from the U.S. The GMB is no Luddite organization but we will not stand idly by to see our members reduced to automatons," said Paul Kenny, GMB Acting General Secretary. "The use of this technology needs to be redesigned to be an aide to the worker rather than making the worker its slave. The supermarkets that rely on just-in-time shelf filling rather than holding buffer stocks are incredibly profitable companies. They can well afford to operate a humanized supply chain."