UNI Global Union is announcing today a global agreement with Madrid-based telecoms giant Telefónica securing the right to a safe return to work for the company’s more than 120,000 employees worldwide. It is the first agreement of its kind in the telecommunications sector, and it sets strict safety guidelines as workplaces re-open the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Telefónica has recognized the vitally important role that unions and worker representatives play in protecting the health of employees, customers, and our communities during this crisis,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “From office work to in-home installation to retail, this agreement helps ensure that Telefónica workers will be able to safely return to work.”
The deal, signed remotely by UNI, Telefonica, the UGT, and CC.OO over a video conference call, stipulates that whenever possible, workers should have the opportunity to telework. It also states that the terms of return-to-work must be collectively bargained locally and ratified by worker representatives. Areas covered include:
- The company will provide all workers returning to work personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Workers’ health will be protected through monitoring and testing where locally possible.
- Facilities will be kept clean and safe and social distancing enforced.
- The return to work will happen in a three phase plan to ensure employee safety.
- Unions and management will establish monitoring mechanisms using existing health and safety committees or creating emergency Covid-19 commissions to respond to workplace issues, conduct education and follow-up to ensure compliance with the measures on all sides.
Teresa Casertano, Head of UNI’s Information, Communications, Technology, and Services (ICTS) sector, said, “These guidelines, enforced on a local and global level, are helping set the standard for the industry, and we call on other companies to follow suit.”
UNI and Telefónica have a long, productive relationship. The two organizations have previously signed global agreements guaranteeing workers’ right to freedom of association and a ground-breaking pact on the right of employees to disconnect.
UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million skills and service workers in 150 countries—including more than 3 million ICTS employees. With more than 344 million customers globally, Telefónica is one the largest telecommunications service providers in the world. It also operates under the Vivo, Moviestar, and O2 brands.