I have growing concerns about the surveillance used in the Dark Store. Data is constantly collected and new cameras are installed all the time without informing us of how they’re used and who has access to the footage. Communication in the Dark Store is almost non-existent. We cope with that. But something like surveillance and privacy are fundamental elements of the workspace that we should know about, so we can decide if these are the right working conditions for us. A new system was introduced a few months ago. Our photo is taken during ‘check in’ and ‘check out’. I’m never asked if my photo can be taken or told what happens to it. I realise how peculiar this situation is and start bending down during the photo capture so that my face is hidden.
‘A new system was introduced a few months ago where our photo is taken during ‘check in’ and ‘check out’... I realise how peculiar this situation is and start bending down during the photo capture so that my face is hidden.’
But I can’t always hide from the technology. The job can’t be done without it. The navigation tech acts as both an aid to me and a disciplinary tool against me. The rider app records my location and speeds in the background. My picking speeds are also tracked. But manually, I write down which orders I have picked so that I can be identified if a customer calls with a complaint about a missing product or a perished fruit. When this first started, everyone hated it. Not only does it take up my time and make my picking speeds slower, but I feel watched. The odd comment about living in George Orwell’s ‘1984’ was made… rather loudly. But as time passes we get used to it and adjust to it. Just like in 1984.