Clients, particularly employers, often ask Labor Solutions, how WOVO can help to engage or improve relationships with trade unions, worker committees, and other worker representatives and organizations.
Recently, a consultant on behalf of Labor Solutions spoke with worker organizing experts including trade union representatives (such as IndustriALL) and social dialogue experts to ask; How can technology like WOVO can support improved industrial relations and engage worker committees?
The following recommendations are from these discussions and from Labor Solutions’ experience bridging the gap between workers, unions, and management.
Simply implementing a technology platform like WOVO, is a good starting place to build an open, communicative workplace.
As an operational grievance mechanism, WOVO’s Connect tool can help build good workplace communication, where speaking up is an everyday practice and accessing remedy is possible. By implementing something like WOVO, employers are communicating to workers, "we care what you think." Being open, providing a channel for feedback and listening is the first step to building a collaborative and safe working environment.
But tools like WOVO alone aren't enough. Strong processes are key to ensuring a quick and effective access to remedy for workers.
Most workplace grievances can and should be resolved in the quickest and most successful way by the organization itself. However, for this to be possible, well-functioning and effective internal grievance mechanisms are needed. When grievances are resolved internally by the organization, not only can the worker(s) get remedy quickly and minimize the negative impacts of the situation, but also the capacity of trade unions can be used in a more efficient way too.
Technology Reaches More-- Use Technology to Train More Workers on their Rights
eLearning tools can reach more workers than face to face trainings, supporting the goals of employers and trade unions alike. Workers need to know about their rights in order to advocate for themselves. Digital trainings like Rights & Responsibilities from Better Work are key to meeting this goal.
Technology can help address issues where traditional approaches don’t work, such as supporting migrant workers.
Migrant workers are some of the most vulnerable rightsholders within value chains, yet it is extremely difficult for them to access information, support and remedy due to their legal status and limited access to ways to enforce their rights. Trade unions are often not equipped to represent migrant workers due to language barriers, local laws, and other limitations. Migrant labor is one area where technology can provide innovative and effective solutions, and where usual approaches don’t work as well as they do for local workers.
Collaborate + share with trade unions where possible.
When implementing a tool like WOVO, it is critical that the social ecosystem In which the tool exists is strong, open and willing to change. This starts with engaging worker representatives in setting up processes and distributing information about the tools, including how to use them, any risks and benefits, and how responses will be processed.
As employers face complex issues, seeking the support and advice of trade unions or representatives can be key to success to ensure they are not penalized for uncovering and addressing important risks. Leveraging the local expertise of trade unions employers may get a better understanding Issues and appropriate solutions.