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Advancing Worker Participation

Advancing Worker Participation Through Improved Supplier Management Systems and Capacity of Workers

Worker participation is often overlooked as a strategy for building a competitive, sustainable business that can keep up with rapidly evolving social and legal standards in global supply chains. Even in countries where workers’ rights to freedom of association (FoA) are extremely limited due to national laws or the lack of government enforcement, businesses can still ensure workers in their supply chain have access to effective grievance mechanisms and systems that ensure workers have a say in workplace matters.

The Advancing Worker Participation project aims to enhance worker participation to better safeguard their fundamental labor rights and interests and foster harmonized labor relations in global supply chains. The project strengthens workplace management systems to facilitate worker engagement on mutual concerns and empowers workers to advocate for their rights and interests.

Sustained improvements in labor conditions require both external and internal factors. Establishing effective management systems at the facility level is a pre-condition for securing lasting improvements in respect for workers’ rights. Likewise, workers themselves can be the agents of change in improving labor conditions. Equipping workers with information on their circumstances, options, resources, and legal rights, along with practical skills to exercise those rights, will enhance their efficacy as change agents.

Verité has developed assessment and improvement tools for supplier facilities, buyers, and other stakeholders to evaluate and enhance facility-level management systems pertaining to workers’ rights, including freedom of association, worker communication, feedback mechanisms, and participation. Additionally, we offer a suite of training and guidance materials for workers, labor organizations, facility managers, and international buyers to enhance their awareness, knowledge, and skills in advancing workers’ rights to freedom of association and workplace participation.

While our assessment tools have global applicability, the e-learning training materials for managers and workers are tailored to workplaces in China.

worker participation benefit businesses

Supplier facilities often lack effective grievance mechanisms and systems to communicate with workers. The lack of such systems contributes to a low sense of value and engagement among workers. Workers and worker representatives have a low awareness of and capacity to understand and resolve their issues of concerns, both of which contribute to a high turnover rate of workers.

Workers’ rights to freedom of association (FoA) and participation in the workplace are either limited by law or suppressed in practice in many countries; this disadvantages workers and exposes international brands to significant legal and reputational risks.

Assessing and strengthening management systems related to worker participation can benefit supplier factories and international buyers in several ways:

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For supplier factories:

  • Meeting legal and client requirements on providing workers with channels for grievances, feedback, communication, and participation.
  • Improved management systems and mechanisms for worker grievances, feedback, communication, and worker participation, with a more educated workforce.
  • Improved two-way communication between workers and management, more harmonized labor relations.
  • Improved worker well-being and satisfaction as well as engagement at work.
  • CSR compliance transformed from an auditing program to an innovative approach that addresses the root causes of labor rights issues in the supply chain.
  • Positive social impact in promoting and fulfilling UN and ILO Conventions (such as ILO C190 and The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) of the sourcing country by supporting workers and worker organizations.
  • Reduced negative exposure to labor and social risks associated with worker grievances, poor communication, and lack of representation (including infringed rights to FoA) in the supply chain.
  • Implementing an impactful worker empowerment program that can meet CSR goals on worker voice, worker participation (social dialog), or two-way communication between workers and management with minimum financial cost.


Worker Rights and Participation Assessment Tools

Worker Rights and Assessment Tools

Worker and Management Training Modules

Worker and Management Training Modules

Worker Participation Guidance Manual

Worker Participation Guidance Manual

Get in touch with the Advancing Worker Participation Team

We’re always striving to make our tools and resources better. Need help using our Advancing Worker Participation tools? Have ideas to make them even more effective? Get in touch with the Verité team today. We’d love to hear your feedback. 

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