MORE than 1,000 workers could take part in industrial action after CCTV cameras were installed in a factory's toilet blocks, The Northern Echo can reveal.

The move by ThyssenKrupp Automotive (TKA) Tallent Chassis, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, has been branded a "horrendous breach of employee privacy".

The company is said to have taken the decision after several incidents of vandalism in the facilities, and has agreed to suspend the use of the cameras until September 3 pending a review.

But unions last night said the cameras were "completely unacceptable" and warned industrial or legal action against TKA Tallent was being considered by the 1,300 workers if the CCTV system was not removed.

An employee, who asked not to be named, told The Northern Echo: "We know there's been quite a lot of vandalism in the toilets over the years, but that's no reason to install all these cameras in all the toilet blocks - apart from the ones in the offices - without telling anyone.

"And there's never been any problems in the ladies' toilets, so there should be no reason to have them in there.

"Everyone here is very upset by this - it's fair to say none of us are very happy at the minute, and think this is a real invasion of privacy."

Ian Davies, regional officer for the Amicus section of the Unite trade union, said TKA Tallent must remove the cameras.

"As far as I'm concerned, I find it a horrendous breach of employee privacy that the company has installed these cameras," he said.

"It shows a total disregard for privacy and human rights at work.

"The members will have my full support whatever form of action they decide to take - that could well be holding a ballot for industrial action or looking at taking legal action.

"The company needs to realise that if there is a problem with vandalism, it can be monitored in many other ways.

"To install this CCTV should be the absolutely last resort - and as they have done it without consulting the trade unions initially, that is not the case."

No one at TKA Tallent's site was available for comment last night.