Watch the government official discuss the three reasons why they use these watches.
Video Credit: TheReporter
Street cleaners in a city in east China have now been required to wear GPS-tracking bracelets in order to keep track of idle workers.
More than 500 sanitation workers in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, were given smart bracelets which they are required to wear at all times while on duty. The bracelets track their location real-time and give out an audio alert if the wearer stops moving for more than 20 minutes.
There used to be an alarm feature but the sanitation company removed it after the feature sparked a public outcry about the Big Brother-style surveillance, according to Chinese media.
However, the bracelet still retains its location tracking feature as well as letting workers clock in for work.
The information from the watch is sent to a command center which makes sure that workers stay in their designated work area and are not slacking off, reported Jiangsu City Channel last Wednesday.
According to an unnamed street cleaner, if she stopped moving for more than 20 minutes, the bracelet will trigger an alert.
“It will shout ‘please continue working! Keep it up!’,” the woman said. “There is a big screen somewhere that shows all our locations. If we still fail to move after the alarm goes off, our managers will come and find us.”
But one of the workers complained that even if the street is already clean, he’s forced to keep walking up and down the street to avoid triggering the alert.
The command center has a large, wall-mounted screen with dozens of dots displayed, indicating the exact location of each sanitation worker in the city.
Yang Haiping, who works at the command center, said that the bracelet program is aimed at increasing worker productivity, reducing management costs, and allowing total monitoring of its workers.
The bracelet also features an emergency button in case the worker is ever in danger.
The surveillance system was implemented in September and is only active during work hours. Zhang Dongzhong, the company’s vice-president, assured everyone that the privacy of the workers will not be infringed upon.
He also told Beijing Youth Daily that so far, no one had been punished due to the information provided by the bracelets.
However, the project has still drawn criticism on Chinese social media with many users questioning the utility of the bracelets as well as offering support to the cleaners.
One person wrote on Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo: “As long as the streets are clean and the worker has done their job, I don’t think the constant monitoring is necessary.”
“It’s not easy being a sanitation worker, they are always overworked. This is just inhumane,” another user added.
“‘Why don’t you put a watch on our government officials? Send out an alert to them if they take a rest for more than 20 minutes?” wrote another.
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