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Fair Work Nation

6 July 2021

As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to developing Scotland as a world leading Fair Work Nation, it is seeking to balance the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers, and to generate benefits for individuals, organisations, and society as a whole.

The Fair Work Convention, which independently advises the Scottish Government on Fair Work, published its Fair Work Framework in 2016.  It sets a vision that, by 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where Fair Work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations, and society.

The Fair Work Framework has been developed to be used:

The Framework defines Fair Work as work that offers:

  • Respect,
  • Security,
  • Opportunity,
  • Fulfilment, and
  • an Effective Voice.

Job security, opportunity for progression and a sense of fulfilment are important in relation to job satisfaction and mental health.  However, of particular relevance to ensuring that seasonal workers and migrant workers do not feel undervalued or exploited in their given roles, it is important to ensure that that individuals or groups of worker feel that they are ‘respected’ and have an ‘effective voice’.



Mutual respect and dignified treatment are important aspects of everyday social exchange and are crucial elements of workplace relationships; treatment by others impacts significantly on self-esteem and well-being.  Mutual respect involves recognising the views, autonomy, status, and contribution of others.  Importantly, respect involves ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of others, and supports competence and promotes trustworthy behaviour.

Respect as a dimension of fair work can be supported in a wide variety of ways: through organisational policies and practices with respect as a key organisational value, underpinning all communication, supervision, management, approaches to conflict resolution and with regards giving each employee an effective voice.


Effective Voice

Effective voice is much more than just having a channel of communication available within organisations; it requires a safe environment where dialogue and challenge are dealt with constructively and where employee views are sought out, listened to, and can make a difference.  An effective employee voice can improve the experience of work as well as improving organisational performance.

The ability to speak, individually or collectively, and to be listened to, is closely linked to the development of respectful and reciprocal workplace relationships.  Opportunities for voice in organisations can be provided in-house or through trade unions e.g. Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)  or other organisations e.g. nGaje ethical platform.

Voice channels improve information sharing, encourage cross learning, resolve conflict, reinforce consensus, and can benefit both employees and employers with regards openness, transparency, dialogue, tolerance of different uses.

Voice channels can be on an individual or a group basis e.g. worker committees/ WhatsApp groups.  Importantly, a safe effective voice channel can help to root out worker exploitation/human trafficking by recruitment agencies and gang masters; a Fair Work Nation should work equally to protect employees and employers alike.


Sources of information:

Fair Work Information Sheet

NFUS – Seasonal Workers

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