Hundreds council workers are set to be fingerprinted before they are allowed to work, it has been revealed.
Staff at Westminster Council in London will ‘clock in’ by scanning their fingerprints in what is believed to be the first scheme of its type in Britain.
But today civil liberties and data protection watchdogs warned the scheme had ‘Big Brother’ overtones and should be abandoned.
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Some of the workers affected are already considering industrial action over the plan. About 200 employees in the street management services department, including the borough’s road sweepers, will be asked to provide their fingerprints.
A source at the authority said staff would have to swipe a finger across a wall-mounted box linked to a computer system. The prints would then be logged and matched against staff records.
Unlike traditional clocking-in machines, employees will not be able to dodge the system by getting others to swipe in for them.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The council says it wants to protect staff by making sure they know where they are. But Unison, the public sector union, argued that the council was introducing the machines because it did not trust its staff.