Council ‘like soviet russia’

An employee of Derry City Council has likened the local authority HQ to “Soviet Russia”.

The staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, claims security cameras installed in the Council’s Strand Road headquarters are being used to “keep an eye on staff”.

The Council insists the cameras - installed last year as part of a security upgrade to the building - are used for security purposes.

The employee, however, says many staff are “up in arms” at what, he claims, is the “Soviet style regime” at Strand Road.

Just last week, Council staff staged an unofficial walkout in protest at the suspension of a colleague.

Unions have accused managers of using CCTV footage as evidence in a disciplinary case and claim it is against agreed procedures.

Alan Law, from trade union NIPSA, claimed Council had used their CCTV system for a purpose for which it is not registered with the information commissioner.

This is a view shared by the Council employee who claims the cameras - located in various hallways and corridors - are used to “keep a close eye” on staff - “even how many times they use the toilet.”

“It’s a basic human dignity to go to the toilet,” he said. “It’s ridiculous that Council somehow thinks it right and proper to dedicate time to keeping an eye on this.”

In response, a spokesperson for Derry City Council explained that all staff matters remain confidential and are dealt with in keeping with agreed procedures.

The spokesperson said: “The Council installed CCTV systems last year as a security upgrade to the building to be used for security purposes.

“The Council works closely with the trade unions on all issues relating to policies and procedures.”