The Flemish Employment Office, VDAB, aims to monitor the types of job opportunities explored by unemployed persons on the Internet so as to see if they are really looking for work, the Flemish press reported on Monday. For some time now, the office has been using information that it can draw from its Internet site and the searches jobseekers do there. Its aim in doing so has been to better serve its Internet-based clients. Now, however, the VDAB plans to go a step further and use this data to determine whether a jobless person is sufficiently actively seeking employment. “We’re conducting an experiment in that regard,” a VDAB spokesperson said.
The regional office insists that this “screening” will be just one of the components of the mediation procedure conducted with a jobseeker.
However, the General Federation of Belgian Labour (FGTB) has misgivings about the idea. “It has many risks and can create a ‘big-brother’ feeling,” commented Caroline Copers, Secretary-General of the FGTB’s Flemish wing. “Could one consider doing the same thing with employers? For example, to see which sectors or companies do not score highly on honest recruitment, without sex or age discrimination.”
The VDAB pointed out that checking up on employers was not currently on the cards, but could be studied. Just like jobless persons, company officials each have an identification number on the site, so it would also be possible to monitor them. Jason Bennett The Brussels Times