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8 Union communication, organising and representation

This theme deals with the rights required for union organising, union representation and other trade union activites in an increasingly digitalised environment. In this changing era, workers' communications with their trade union representatives and between one another remain must be protected.

Workers and unions have always sought protections for their right to organize. In the digital era, workers and unions must ensure that these rights are protected.

Workers and unions must demand strong language that protects:

  • Access to the workforce

  • Trade union communications

This subtheme deals with the rights and protections that workers and unions need to effectively and freely access and contact each other.

Unions have long fought for access to the workplace by negotiating for things like workplace message boards to post announcements and office space for union leaders. However, as more jobs move online and remote work becomes more common, trade unions need to develop new ways to access the workforce.

In the digital era, effective communication between unions and union members may require new digital tools like email, text messages, or digital message boards. These digital tools may rely on infrastructure provided by the employer, or they may be independent of the workplace.

Unions and workers must bargain for the necessary information to access and communicate with each other. They must also protect the right to communicate with each other, even if communication happens through tools owned or operated by the employer.

This subtheme deals with ensuring that communication between workers, and between workers and unions, is private and free from management surveillance and monitoring.

Workers' communication with each other and with their union must be free from management oversight. In an increasingly digitized workplace, communication channels - including email and messaging applications - have become easy to monitor and surveil. Ideally, employers should be prohibited from accessing union communications.

Private and secure communication is key to building trust between unions and union members, and can help unions can organize and represent members effectively. This is why unions and their members must work to protect their right to communicate freely and privately, and ensure they can contact each other on a regular basis.

Trade unions in action: The digital right of entry

Union members should have a guaranteed right to access and communicate with their unions. Similarly, unions should be guaranteed a digital right of entry so that they can communicate and represent union members.

In Australia, the Community and Public Sector Union & Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has bargained for access to the employer's facilities. This includes internet and email access and can be used to help the union contact its members. In Argentina the Sindicato de las Telecomunicaciones (FOETRA) has bargained for similar access, and proposed that the employer provide website hosting for the union for the purpose of sharing union communications.

The union entity will have enabled the digital communication channels used by the company for its workers for the purpose of sending all communications of a guild nature, with the possibility of establishing a communication method as a "digital poster" in which the union information will be included exclusively. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a Commission will be created to analyze the proposal made by the Guild that consists of developing a Web[site] that will be hosted in the cloud, outside the Telefónica network, and with direct access through an icon on the Windows desktop of all employees under the telecommuting regime. It is stated that both the Web and the App must comply with Telefónica's security policies, which will be detailed during the project.





Document type

Collective bargaining agreement

Clause number


[Union workplace delegates are entitled] To have reasonable access to ACTPS facilities (including internet and email facilities, meeting rooms, lunch rooms, tea rooms and other areas where employees meet) for the purpose of carrying out work as a delegate and consulting with members and other interested employees and the union.





Document type

Collective bargaining agreement

Clause number