What do these things have in common: Telia, tablets and employee representatives?
Armed with tablets and computers, employee representatives and HK/Privat staff took to the road to give members the opportunity to vote. Representatives in HK, the shop and clerical workers' union, went out to the Friday afternoon staff get-together at Telia and met passers-by in front of Danish Crown to make it easy for members to vote for or against the collective agreement under negotiation. At the Friday afternoon event just before the final ballot, members of HK/Privat were offered popcorn and information folders and the chance to have their say on the collective agreement . A third of Telia's HK members decided to cast their vote at the occasion. Esben Hjort, an organiser in Copenhagen's HK Service team, feels that many members would not have voted had it not been for the tablet device that Esben had with him.
Many of HK/Privat members at Telia are younger than the average within HK/Privat in general and the Friday get-together was a strategic choice. Telia members were not the only ones to be given the chance to vote digitally at their place of work: the offer was extended in various ways to HK members in a total of 36 companies over Denmark, through the efforts of 50 employee representatives and five HK staff. Members at Danish Crown and Novenco were also met by smiling HK representatives in their staff car parks, both at the start and end of the day. A very convenient way for people to cast their vote!
Lillian Hesteng, who was at Danish Crown and Novenco and Hjort both feel that members were pleased with the new approach and, besides the increased awareness of the members' referendum on the collective agreement and the possible increase in voter participation at each workplace, they believe that being visible by going out to the members' places of work was a significant initiative. It allowed people to put a face to the names in HK/Privat, and to talk about the collective agreement. In the long term this will mean greater member loyalty.
The ultimate test
Member participation in the referendum is important for HK/Privat: they are keen to test any measures that will make voting simpler, more efficient and smooth running. Christoffer Marckmann, a consultant at HK/Privat, says that the members' referendum on the collective agreement is the ultimate test as to whether members feel that HK/Privat has represented them to their satisfaction. Mobile electoral registers enabled voting direct from tablets: this was yet another means for HK Privat to persuade a high percentage of members to participate in the democratic process. Marckmann is certain that employee representatives will again be involved at the next referendum on a collective agreement.
The latest shoot
Digital voting has been provided at HK/Privat since 2010. Mobile electoral registers are the latest supplement to the digital solution. The increase in people opting to vote digitally is considerable. In 2010, one third of members voted digitally and two thirds by letter. At the latest ballot in 2012, the proportions were reversed: two thirds voted digitally.
Getting members to vote on the collective agreement is generally quite a challenge in the LO (the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions). The percentage of members voting in HK/Privat was the same in 2010 and 2012, despite there being a massive campaign in 2010 to encourage people to participate. There was no such campaign in 2012 and Marckmann is convinced that digital solutions, with their ease of use and accessibility, were a significant reason why voter participation did not fall in 2012.
Throughout the period of the referendum a total of 50 employee representatives and 5 HK/Privat staff was using tablets and computer across the country to persuade members to vote. The general opinion is that is was worth the effort.