What’s the news: After schools, the Andhra Pradesh government tried to push the facial recognition-based attendance system on sanitation workers in Ongole district. History repeated itself once more when workers, like teachers in the previous incident, protested against the new system on January, 30, 2023, reported The Hindu. Upset by the introduction of an AI-based attendance system rather than a pay hike, workers demonstrated in front of the Prakasam Bhavan demanding the withdrawal of the facial recognition technology. Union leaders pointed out that most sanitation workers in the region are illiterate and do not have a smart phone. Yet, the government had pushed through with unnecessary mobile apps, said one leader of the Andhra Pradesh Municipal Workers Union(APMWU). Why it matters: Last year, Andhra’s teachers rose in protest against the use of Sims-AP app for tracking teachers' attendance in government schools. Like the workers, teachers had argued that some teachers did not have smartphones to ensure attendance in such a way. Similarly, in 2020, Chandigarh’s sanitation workers had spoken out against forced GPS-tracking that often cost them their wages. It appears that administrations across India are intent on forcing new surveillance technologies in work environment for its own benefit. Do employees have no say here? Wages rather than attendance: Instead of the attendance system, workers called for monthly wages of ₹18,500 for drivers of garbage collection vehicles introduced under the Clean Andhra Pradesh (CLAP). Further, they asked for jobs for the next of kin of deceased sanitary workers – a…
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