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Swansea IT strikers reject 'sabotage' claim

Reply with attempted hacking accusation

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IT workers striking in Swansea have reacted angrily to a newspaper report that the council's IT systems were "sabotaged" before they walked out last Monday.

Claims that some parts of the council's IT department were tampered with follows a statement by the authority which confirmed it had asked external auditors "to investigate the extent of problems that have been uncovered in the council's IT section, as a result of the current strike action".

"The Council, on [last] Monday morning, found some cables had been detached from computers and other equipment and cupboards containing important equipment were found locked with keys missing. It also appears that access to critical systems had been blocked and important documentation removed. This meant that the council's ability to support the delivery of IT services was severely jeopardised," it said in a statement.

But the 100 IT workers striking "indefinitely" over plans to privatise their jobs as part of a new egovernment scheme reject the allegations and insist that all systems were "left in a secure, operational and running state" when industrial action began last week.

They deny that keys were missing and maintain that all systems were left connected.

"The council wishes to blacken the character of its ICT staff by these unsubstantiated claims," said Unison, the union backing the IT workers, in a statement. "With regard to the level of security all server equipment was secured at the level recommend by the Governments system security advice notes." And in a new twist that shows just how far relations between the two sides has deteriorated, union officials claim they have evidence that someone using a council PC has tried to hack into the strikers' website.

"This is being reported to the appropriate authorities both in the UK and USA as the site is hosted in the US," said workers in a statement.

A spokesman for the council said that the hacking allegation was "absolutely not true".

Union officials and representatives from Swansea council met this morning in a bid to resolve the dispute. ®

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