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Photo: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Labor rights in the framework of teleworking and digitalization

31 October, 2023 | Ricardo Changala

At the beginning of October 2023, the UNI Global Union and the Crédit Agricole S.A. Group reached a global agreement that strengthens and extends worker protection for the French banking group’s 75,000 employees in 46 countries, at least for the next four years.

UNI is the voice of 20 million workers in service sector companies worldwide, with a presence in 150 countries in all regions of the world. UNI Finance is the global union of banking and insurance workers.

For its part, the Crédit Agricole S.A. group operates in about 50 countries, being the leading financier of the French economy, the first banking and insurance company in Europe, the first European asset manager and the largest underwriter of green, social and sustainable bonds in the world.

The agreement is extensive and includes very important clauses on relevant issues such as non-discrimination of any kind, gender equity, combating workplace harassment, trade union rights, among others.

It is a pioneer in the recognition of full trade union rights for remote workers and allows employees, through collective bargaining, to identify, prevent and mitigate the possible negative impacts of new technologies, in particular artificial intelligence as well as surveillance tools.

It is expressly recognized that employees who work in telecommuting have the same rights and benefits and are subject to the same obligations as employees who carry out their work on the company’s premises, in particular with regard to:

Trade union rights, staff representation, social dialogue and participation in professional/trade union elections; conditions of employment, remuneration, training and professional development; The duration and organization of work, in particular the right to disconnection and the use of tools, especially digital; workload, setting of objectives, deadlines for implementation and performance review procedures; coverage of accidents at work, illness, death and provident insurance.

The computer and communication tools necessary for the development of the activity must be provided by the company, being used in accordance with the intended purpose, respecting the rules on data security and confidentiality.

As for digitalization, the signatory parties note that the development of digital technologies could have negative effects, in particular with regard to the collection and use of employees’ personal data, so they propose measures capable of preventing these risks for which they agree on the following principles: with the principles established below:

Legality, fairness and transparency of the processing, based on a concrete justification (about the processing that is carried out of your personal data.

Purpose limitation, as employees’ personal data must always be collected and processed for specific purposes;

Data minimization, since only those personal data of employees that are strictly necessary to achieve the intended objectives can be collected.

Accuracy, ensuring that any inaccurate personal data is rectified or deleted;

Limitation of the storage period because only for longer than necessary to achieve the purposes for which they were collected and/or during the statutory limitation periods;

Security in the storage and processing of data to guarantee confidentiality.

At the public presentation of the agreement, Alke Boessiger, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union said that:

“This new global agreement with the Crédit Agricole S.A. Group contributes to the establishment of the highest global standards in terms of workers’ rights in the financial sector. The agreement supports collective bargaining as a means of social dialogue and is adapted to the requirements of the current digital transformation. We are proud of this agreement with the Crédit Agricole S.A. Group, which recognizes the value of trade union relations.”