Transnational labour relations – it’s time for something new

Vincent Gimeno

CFDT union representative to the UNI Orange Trade Union Alliance

A proper CSR policy has to take an innovative approach to labour relations. Orange needs to do more than comply with legal minimums in its operating countries. Since 2004, the Group has set up several channels for transnational labour relations, including the European Works Council and the Global Works Council. Now it has to step up international labour relations between these two bodies and UNI Global Union, through the UNI Orange Trade Union Alliance. The Alliance brings together country-level unions active in the Group’s various entities and subsidiaries.

The worldwide agreement on workplace health and safety we signed in 2014 was one of our early successes. It aims to implement standards above the legal baseline in operating countries and introduces continuous improvement loops. The agreement has also established a union presence in the health and safety committees in every entity. And it has shown that employers and employee representatives can work hand in hand to raise awareness among employees, provide training for Committee members and monitor the implementation of the agreement.

The next agreements need to be based on the same idea. For example, setting up specific joint monitoring organisations, encompassing the UNI Alliance and the relevant bodies, even in operating countries where legislation doesn’t require the company to do so. That way, Orange will create its own consistently high Group-wide standards. Going forward, one of our priorities is to take social dialogue into areas it has not explored yet. These include the impact of artificial intelligence and supporting the Group’s digital transformation, profit sharing, embracing a fully responsible corporate strategy, and stepping up employee representation in decision-making bodies at company and subsidiary level. We need to overcome the tragedies in our company’s past by driving a fresh approach to labour relations.

Carolina Diaz-Lönborg

Human skills at the core of digital transformation