Brit council staff told to clock-out for non-work conversations

Saturday, January 29, 2011

LONDON - Council workers in Carlisle, Britain have been told they would have to clock-out if they wish to conduct non-work conversations about the weather, holidays or babies.

Two team leaders in the city’s benefits department sent an e-mail, detailing the changes, to 31 workers, and it also warned them not to treat work like a “holiday camp”.

“In order to ensure maximum output is produced, the working ethos within the office will need to change,” the BBC quoted the e-mail as reading.

“Staff should be aware of the reason why they are here, which is to work and not to treat the office as a day-to-day holiday camp.

“It is not a requirement for you not to talk to your fellow colleagues, but you should ensure that non-work conversations are kept to a minimum,” it stated.

The e-mail goes on to say that the way staff previously worked could not be sustained in the “current economic climate”.

GMB Union representative, Ged Craig said the message was a “disgrace”.

“It’s ridiculous and a disgrace - it is suggesting that if, for example, you are standing in a queue for the photocopier having a chat you should clock out,” he said.

Carlisle City Council has apologised for the e-mail and said its management approach fell short of its usual “high standards”.

Dr Jason Gooding, Carlisle City Council’s deputy chief executive, said the matter was an “isolated incident” and lessons would be learned. (ANI)

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