What does an ethical workplace mean to you?

The ICTU led ethical workplace initiative came to an end with a celebration event in Liberty Hall, on April 30th. President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins were presented with materials collected from the project including a video, postcards and twitter feed comments.

The speeches from both President Higgins and General Secretary of ICTU Patricia King focused on the need for decent work, and power dynamics in the workplace. President Higgins said that “trade unions have a crucial role to play in defending workers” and he talked at length about the need to hand a stable working environment to the next generation in an era when instability in employment is increasingly becoming an unwanted feature.

The future for the ethical workplace initiative

On the back of this project Congress has begun a campaign advocating for the development of a National Charter of Workplace Ethics that will outline and provide clear guidance on the key principles that govern fair conditions of employment and ensure that every worker is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

As part of the development of the National Charter of Workplace Ethics, Congress is calling on employers to sit down with workers and their unions and negotiate fair whistleblowing policies that will protect workers when they report concerns about ethical failures, rather than policies that only protect reporting on legal failures.

For further information on this campaign click here

Ethical workplace video

This project relied upon the input of trade union members and would not have succeeded without it. One of the main outputs of the project was the creation of a collaborative film, in which a large number of unions and their members participated in, from throughout Ireland.

Project Comments

Below is a small collection of some of the hundreds of comments which were submitted to the dedicated website for the ethical workplace initiative.

Each point below answers the question ‘what does an ethical workplace mean to you?’

  • It means not having to constantly apologise to patients I see in hospital for the appalling conditions they must endure in my workplace.
  • A place where there is transparency in integration of ideas regardless of grades. Also openness and equality in recruiting – there have been situations where people happened to be in the right place at the right time and that creates inequity.
  • That everyone in the workplace supports each other and acknowledges the good in the other! That includes the boss/manage/principal!
  • An ethical workplace is where staff feel supported and support each other, where working hours are reasonable, work-life balance is facilitated as much as possible, there are good recycling and cycling facilities and food where provided is ethically-sourced.
  • Somewhere safe and respectful where people feel free to say if they are uncomfortable about behaviour.
  • A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
  • It means having a work environment that fosters effective communication.
  • Staff are given information that is relevant and up to date and are given further opportunities to learn in the form of training.
  • That all staff are given equal opportunities.
  • A workplace that ensures the dignity and rights of staff are respected. Staff are given an opportunity to grow and develop their strengths and to progress in their careers.
  • An ethical workplace is one where there is good leadership and commitment from workers and managers to performing to the best of their ability in the jobs they do, with respect and awareness about how they work with each other and with their customers or the people they serve. The workplace must be guided by principles of equality and fairness and must publically act upon these in all parts of their work so as to ensure that exploitation and inequality are not countenanced, but even further, they are singled out and tackled head on. It is all about trust.
  • Senior Management is failing miserably in generating trust between them and their employees