ILO encourages unions to adopt new approaches to communication

ILO, regional Arab trade unions re-think communication strategies and practices in a fast changing media landscape.

Press release | 05 October 2016
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) A three-day ILO workshop, which examined how Arab trade union representatives can best combine traditional and new media to better communicate with their members, partners and the media, ended in Amman on Wednesday (October 5).

Participants were introduced to communication tools and were encouraged to use these tools and new technology channels, as well as re-think their communication strategies.

Organized by the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) in collaboration with the Regional Office for Arab States, the workshop reviewed methodologies and practices from across the region and discussed challenges faced by workers’ organizations in engaging and mobilizing workers.

“Communication tools are important because they can help unions organise and reach out to workers, spread their messages and positions on socio-economic issues to their members, social partners and general public, as well as promote decent work, international labour standards and trade union rights,” said Mustapha Said, Senior Workers' Specialist at the ILO’s Regional Office for Arab State.

“Yet it is important for trade union organisations to develop their visions and strategies to achieve decent work as the right path to social stability and social justice. Communication can facilitate interaction with other partners and enhance social dialogue.”

The workshop brought together communication officers and representatives from key regional workers’ organizations from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, the occupied Palestinian territory and the Arab Trade Union Confederation (ATUC).

Participants discussed several topics related to communications including social media, online campaigns, interviewing and writing skills, developing communication strategies and action plans as well as networking with the media.

“We discussed how new communication technology now allows the general public to have a say. We used to be consumers of the media but now with the changing technology, we are also suppliers due to the ability to provide feedback through social media and other media,” said Rawa al Alawi, member of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions and head of communications of the trade union of the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO).

“Trade unions benefit from these tools because workers no longer just receive information, but now they can provide us with feedback, so there is interaction between the different sides, which allows us to improve our work,” added al Alawi.

Sessions also examined the ILO’s communication work with its tripartite partners as well as the communication experience of the ATUC in representing workers’ issues in the Arab region through their network of journalists and various tools.

“Our objective is to improve workers’ rights in the region through shedding light on their issues and providing workers with a platform to voice their concerns. Our work also provides journalists and others with vital information concerning workers,” said Rania Sarayrah, media officer working with the ATUC. “We encourage journalists and communication officers working with unions across the region to become more proactive in providing us with more material and information in order to assist us in our role in defending workers’ rights.”

The workshop in Jordan is part of a series of communications training workshops that ACTRAV is conducting for trade unions globally, aimed at improving communication skills of union members in efforts to help them influence policy and defend workers at national levels.