ORA workers at a coffee break. | Jaume Morey


Unions representing employees of the company that operates the ORA blue-zone parking system in Palma have denounced recordings of conversations to the Balearic employment inspectorate and to the national data protection agency.

The secretary of the works committee, Mario Quinteros, explains that management installed an app on employees' phones which is intended to enhance communication between workers and with inspectors and to be used in the case of emergency, e.g. threats of physical assault.

However, according to Quinteros, some four weeks after the app was installed, it started to become evident that recordings were being made without employees being aware of these. The trigger for this was when an inspector referred to a conversation that various workers had had during a break period. This inspector said that the recording had been saved by head office and by other inspectors.

The unions demanded explanations from the company. Initially, the unions say, the company denied knowing what they were talking about but later acknowledged the recordings, adding that it had not been the intention to record conversations. Quinteros argues, therefore, that the company "was aware of the issue and didn't notify anyone". The company, he claims, is not saying who was responsible.

Quinteros is also complaining that management has made all the ORA workers sign a document in which they are warned that they can be sanctioned based on information collected by the GPS installed on their phones. For Quinteros, this amounts to "covert pressure" so that workers impose more fines. "They don't say it directly but they are putting pressure on us in different ways. They control us even when we go to the bathroom."