Enhancing communication strategies of workers’ organizations

MOSZ (Munkástanácsok Országos Szövetsége) in cooperation with TUC Nezavisnost held a common seminar in Budapest with the title “Enhancing communication strategies of workers’ organizations” in the framework of the EZA special project for workers’ organizations in the Western Balkans “Strengthening social dialogue – shaping European integration”. The seminar was realized with the support of EZA and of the European Union. 50 representatives of Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Czech, Serbian and Slovakian trade unions participated in the seminar.

Imre Palkovics, the president of MOSZ, member of the EZA Board welcomed the participants and stressed: during many Western-Balkan projects the difficulties of communication of the organizations as well as the challenges implied by the modern communication solutions have been discussed many times. This time we are looking for these solutions. On the Seminar we have asked for support of well-known professionals in political communication and the private sector communication to get answer for the challenges concerning the communication of the modern age from a trade union perspective. Imre Palkovics has expressed his gratitude to EZA for the possibility to organize the Seminar.

In his opening speech Dragan Milanovic, the vice-president of TUC Nezavisnost has stressed his appreciation on organizing this Seminar in the framework of EZA Western Balkan project and have expressed his hope on an exchange of experience and assistance among the present trade union members for the amelioration of communication strategies and further expand of the bilateral agreements besides the professional support of the speakers.

Flóra Idrányi, chief of communication of MOSZ, in her presentation she stressed: the organizations similar to the private sector and political players should use the PR toolkit of the 21st century. In this respect the Eastern-European region and the Western-Balkan show great deficits compared to the Western-European countries: trade unions should use a two-way symmetrical PR model which is “conflict management” in itself, where communication appears as a management tool for the resolution of conflicts. The aim is the harmonization, fitting in and survival. The institutional communication should not simply be used as a reactive action but as a planning and forecasting tool of the management. The goal is to stop or resolve conflicts, the harmonization to the environment in order to reach consensus.

Dragan Milanovic, the vice-president of TUC Nezavisnost held a presentation on “Digital existence”. The vice-president said, that he is in a relative easy situation, since within TUC Nezavisnost he is the head of the media division. They proudly share that in the last years they are present on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube and have recently made a video clip on collective agreements. At the end of his presentation he distributed medicaments and washing powder labeled with TUC Nezavisnost, which of course didn’t include drugs but useful advice for trade union members.

Gergő Süveges, reporter of the Hungarian Radio held his presentation on how to prepare to different report situations and how to react to unexpected reporter’s questions.

József Perlaky-Papp crisis communication advisor in his presentation stressed that the trade union communication is basically a continuous crisis communications since for instance declaring a strike is declaring the crisis itself. The publicity serves the purpose to initiate dialogue in the conflict. From a communication point of view strike is considered to be a “soft crisis” since it does not require e.g. human life. Perlaky showed: trade unions can take an important communication role in the upcoming years, since the great problem of emigration of labor will determine the common talk.

Andrea Szabó senior lecturer Ph.D, professor of the Political Institute talked about the importance of announcements. As she said, two-way symmetric communication model cannot be executed without announcements. For our question she said, that we are looking for an answer for the simple question what people expect from trade unions, she offered a telephone-based representative survey.

Árpád Papp-Vári, Ph.D head of the Institute of Marketing Budapest Metropolitan University, vice-president of the Hungarian Marketing Association was trying to unfold the technique of brand building of trade unions. He said: the post-communist countries are in a difficult situation by means of trade union brand building since they have to reposition an already established, negative brand. For an example he has presented an advertisement of Skoda, where the parking guard was trying to scratch down the Skoda logo from the car.

Zsolt Gombos online marketing trainer was explaining how a good trade union website should look like and how we can do crowd building for trade unions on the web. He stated “we have to build communities, since the future and the power are in communication”. He showed a concrete example on how to aim workers abroad via Facebook.

In her closing speech Erzsébet Tóth-Báthori the vice-president of APV regional committee showed the ideas elaborated in the framework of the Agreement between the National Confederation of Workers’ Councils and TUC Nezavisnost. She highlighted: years before the bilateral agreement made in the framework of Western-Balkan projects with MOSZ has showed on several fields its results. The two organizations are in a constant dialogue and pay attention to each other’s activities and media appearances. She stressed the second weekly appearing 30-minute broadcast of MOSZ called “The World of Workers” from which they have gained a lot of ideas in Serbia.