From June to September 2020, Better Work Vietnam (BWV) has successfully piloted a new, interactive mobile application in 51 factories in Vietnam. This app will be launched shortly across BWV participating factories as a scaling strategy to upgrade its performance and efficiency, bring the programme and its key stakeholders closer to the workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to increase their knowledge of work-related and global issues.
Better Work Vietnam sees the implementation of tech solutions across the sector as a key ally to further scale up its engagement with local factories in the future. That’s why, in collaboration with Vietnam’s health and labour ministries, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour and employer groups, Better Work Vietnam has developed a chat and learning application called “Gopy.”
The app is available in Vietnamese and English and is accompanied by a web portal, as a part of its sustainability road map.
“Gopy was not only meant to support workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but was especially thought to help us deliver our services and even go beyond them in the future,” says Pham Quoc Thuan, Better Work Vietnam Enterprise Advisor Team Leader.
“The app includes information about Better Work, its signature Performance Improvement Consultative Committee (PICC) — an enterprise-level advisory committee made of an equal number of management and worker representatives — and our local stakeholders. Through this app, we aim to further empower the workers, factories and the PICC members by giving them the chance to self-assess their work situation, monitor the risks they face and the conditions of their premises compliance.”
Gopy’s multi-level structure is set to encourage virtual dialogue among its users. Functioning like a social media app, where workers, factory representatives and Better Work Enterprise Advisors can share and update information, strengthen a meaningful and deep dialogue, and foster quality conversation among worker and management personnel.
Stakeholders including ministries, workers and employers associations upload their own content. By creating a shared venue, app developers say workers are better informed about their initiatives and roles across the sector. Better Work Vietnam partners can also directly respond to the users’ request via the app’s messaging services.
In the “In the BWV response to COVID-19” section, information is sorted out in several discussion topics, like “Information and Updates”, “Protect Yourself”, “Useful Material” and “Worker’s Information”, among others. Clips and instructions on how to stem the risks of infections have been developed in collaboration with the Health Ministry and include guidelines provided by the World Health Organization.
Finally, workers have the chance to share their doubts and questions concerning the pandemic directly with factory representatives. Owners can assess the risk their employees face across the factory floor through indicators provided by the Ministry of Health.
Gopy also includes several pages of quizzes on topics spanning the COVID-19 response and work-related issues like the Vietnamese Labour Law, work safety guidelines and professional ethics, among others. These tests are thought to help workers further improve their knowledge on relevant topics through a new and interactive method of learning.
Gopy information also includes work-related topics such as the minimum age of entry to employment, the work of trade unions, collective negotiation issues and the national collective labour agreement, cases of labour disputes and cases of discrimination and forced labour. Most importantly, Gopy will act as a data entry when BWV introduces the revised Labour Law Guide in the forthcoming period proceeding with Vietnam Amended Labour Code coming into effect in January 2021.
With many virtual industry seminars with brands and participating factories held in the first wave of COVID-19 with Vietnam Labour Ministry key speakers, BWV has also developed a special section, a “Labour plans for Vietnamese enterprises affected by COVID-19” guide that sheds light on processes like annual or unpaid leave requests and ways to suspend or terminate labour contracts. In consultation with the Labour Inspectorate of Labour Ministry, BWV aims to support its participating factories to analyze the situation, discuss with employees on possible labour plans as regulated by Vietnamese Law, effectively balancing the rights and responsibilities among all parties involved.
In these cases, the app presents users with a series of questions to help workers understand whether they are eligible for such plans and how to apply to certain procedures based on the country’s Labour Law.
“If the employers and employees understand and comply with national labour law and international core labour standards, it will greatly reduce the burdens of the government agencies, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, we will be able to ensure the legitimate rights and benefits of involving parties in the industrial relations. I hope that the Gopy app introduction will help the employers and employees protect themselves against COVID-19 risks and promote labour law compliance,” said Ms. Diep Nguyen, Deputy Chief Inspector, Vietnam Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs, Chairperson of BWV Programme Advisory Committee
Further pages include information on how to tackle the risk of sexual harassment in the workplace, what it is and how to address it.
“Better Work Vietnam and its stakeholders possess a vast combination of information and knowledge, but their dissemination still presents limits on a large scale. Gopy has been piloted and scaled up to tackle this,” Thuan says. “We believe that the more workers can learn, the more they can protect themselves and the higher the compliance across the factory floor could become.”