- The garment and textile industries contribute substantially to Turkey’s economy and exports, with key markets being in Europe and the United States.
- The Fair Labor Association (FLA) and Ulula are working together to develop a worker engagement app (WISE) that acts as a central touchpoint between workers, suppliers, buyers, supported by the FLA to share resources and collaborate on mutually beneficial solutions.
- The WISE app creates a model for collaboration that can be scaled and customized across brands and other partners.
Turkey is the third-largest supplier of garments and textiles to Europe, and exports 16 percent of its garments and textiles to the United States. Turkey’s overall economic well being is inextricably tied to the exports of the garment, textiles, footwear, and leather industries.
While the industry creates much-needed employment opportunities for local workers and migrants, concerns about labor rights abuses and poor working conditions have increased. The challenges are further exacerbated by the increased employment of Syrian refugees whose undocumented status puts them at a great vulnerability of abuse.
The FLA and Ulula collaboration
In an effort to leverage technology to increase visibility into working conditions and support on the ground capacity building, The FLA and Ulula joined forces to develop a worker engagement mobile app. The Worker Insights, Smart Engagement (WISE) app has been designed to support increased worker feedback and capacity building with workers across the global supply chain.
The WISE app will be piloted in Turkey to promote better working conditions in the ready-made-garments (RMGs). According to Ulula CEO, Antoine Heuty “The app offers a safe and accessible system for workers to access practical resources about health and safety on the job and their rights while enabling them to have more accessible and safe channels to get support and remedy in Turkish.”
The WISE app serves as a central touchpoint between workers, suppliers, and brands, supported by the FLA. Workers can easily download the WISE app available on Android and iOS to submit questions and incident reports, and access information about their workplace. Factory managers will be able to broadcast notifications to workers and manage grievances, while the process is supported by the FLA and their buyers. Through data management and sharing capabilities of the app, the FLA will be able to share insights while maintaining worker privacy. By increasing worker engagement and empowering workers to share feedback on areas of improvement, suppliers can experience decreased turnover and absenteeism and buyers rest assured that a worker engagement is functioning.
Key features of the WISE app:
- Multilingual surveys allow workers to share feedback on their labor conditions and share insight into their overall satisfaction and wellbeing in their native language.
- Anonymous responses through encryption of survey data ensures privacy and protection of worker identity and personal information.
- Two-way communication allows workers and factory managers to anonymously connect, address questions, and collaboratively resolve issues in a timely manner.
- Hub for resources centralizes resources for capacity building, worker engagement activities, updates, and alerts that are provided by the FLA.
- Real-time data analytics dashboard enables project partners to access live results and insights to promote transparency and shared learning.
- Offline channels to support populations without broadband connectivity. Offline channels include SMS and IVR (voice).
The WISE app serves as a model for how cross-industry partnerships grounded in technology can increase the visibility of dangerous and hazardous working conditions and enable brands and workers to collaboratively address and resolve worker health and well-being. The solution provides a framework that can be scaled and customized to be compatible with various brands and partners.
The Fair Labor Association has worked for two decades to protect and promote the rights of workers across the global supply chain. The FLA conducts independent monitoring to identify the root causes of labor rights violations and publishes the results to promote transparency and accountability. FLA members include businesses, civil society groups, and colleges and universities which work collaboratively to uphold high labor standards and identify sustainable solutions that benefit factory and farm workers.
Located in Toronto, Ulula equips organizations and global brands with technology, data and analytics to monitor risks of human rights abuses in order to create more responsible supply chains. The company’s mandate is to improve working conditions in mining, manufacturing and agribusiness by sourcing and processing accurate and timely insights directly from workers across the globe. Ulula works across sectors and regions, with projects across the globe including India, Peru, South Africa and China with clients ranging from NGOs to government departments to household name brands.