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CWU Conference ’18 BT accused of intruding ‘into the private lives of employees’

BT was accused of taking a “draconian and controlling attitude towards social media” by CWU members during a lively debate on the company’s social media policy.

Delegates at the union’s telecoms and financial services conference in Bournemouth unanimously passed a motion yesterday that said BT was intruding “into the private lives of employees” with its “increasingly dictatorial” approach to social media use.

The motion noted that the Human Rights Act provided the “right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence” and that it was “worrying” that BT employees had been “effectively gagged.”

Dave Brooker, from Meridian branch, expressed concern that “we will see a more draconian approach creep through” unless CWU members took action, warning that BT was “delving into Big Brother and Snooper’s Charter territory.”

He asked: “Whatever happened to open and honest conversation? And wasn’t it BT which said a few years back: ‘it’s good to talk’? Clearly only if it agrees with what you’re saying!”

Daniel Lewis, from Bootle financial services branch, said BT’s approach represented an “invasion of our privacy” and encouraged the CWU to get young workers more involved in issues like social media policy.

Dave Stewart, from the CWU executive, supported the motion and agreed that BT appeared to be “extending their social media policy into the private lives” of members.

He quoted from BT’s social media policy, which asks workers not to “talk about competitors, customers, colleagues, partners or suppliers without its approval,” adding that it would be near-impossible for employees to know whether someone was a BT customer.

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