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ILO study: Using Tools like WOVO in Grievance Management Can Help Unions Overcome Challenges

The ILO's latest study on union federations in partnership with Labor Solutions concluded that unions are facing challenges in managing grievance data and that digitization with tools like WOVO could help them overcome these challenges.


The ILO conducted the study with the support of its Strengthening Industrial Relations in Indonesia project, the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV), and Labor Solutions, a tech and advisory social enterprise. The focus of the study was two main federations and their confederations in the garment sectors, as well as five other union confederations and three independent union federations in the palm oil and fishery sectors. The study aimed to develop recommendations for confederations, federations, and local trade unions on how to improve their grievance management process and overcome challenges.


Challenges Faced by Indonesian Unions in Managing + Using Grievance Data

The study found that union federations with members in multiple regions are struggling to manage data on union membership and grievances. Their current data is often incomplete, and outdated, and does not provide useful insights or support for advocacy and reform.


The study also found that the existing grievance management systems created by each federation are good for managing and resolving cases, but they are not good for other things that the federations do, such as advocacy and reform. The systems also do not support the federations' plans for growth and development in the future.


However, the study confirms that trade unions play a vital role in grievance mechanisms and provide essential services to their members. Some federations that participated in the study leveraged technology and online tools to connect with their members and intake grievance cases.


Recommendations from ILO to Trade Unions

The study concluded with "a set of recommendations as follows:

  • Digitization is found to a good for problems associated with scaling and data collection and analysis. Digital tools can automate processes that are resource-intensive and make complex data more user-friendly and easy to understand.

  • Trust-based connections and communications with workers developed by federations are identified as the strength of the federations that should be maintained using the existing communication channels.

  • Development of a dashboard-based case management system for each federation that allows federation officials at any level to input new cases from any available channels such as social media, web-based form and WhatsApp, review the status of open cases and support new case investigation and resolution.

  • Development of case categorization through tagging and custom or individualized categories so that data can be easily analyzed and lessons learned incorporated into future case management.

  • Buy-in and support from each level of the federation are critical. The federations should be aware of concerns from factory-level trade union representatives and ensure that they are convinced of the value of the new features and are able to navigate them to support their work."

How WOVO Connect Can Help Multi-stakeholder Initiatives

WOVO Connect is a grievance + safety case management system for complex supply chains. It is a two-way anonymous communication system that directly connects workers through various channels, including SMS, QR Codes, Instant Messaging Services, or via the WOVO platform itself.


The platform also provides aggregated, real-time data that is comparable across different regions and over time. The dashboard also provides insights that can help pinpoint problematic areas to proactively make changes. Based on the program objectives, the data, and results can be shared with buyers, suppliers, or other third-party organizations like labor unions to promote transparency, and autonomy, and empower local facilities.

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