GSA urges seafood industry to take short online global survey on worker voice

Published on
August 13, 2020

Global Seafood Assurance (GSA) is urging anyone involved in the seafood industry to help it gather data on how workers’ voices are heard by filling in a short online global survey. The exercise is part of the Fishing Vessel Crews Worker Voice project. 

The questionnaire asks respondents to explain their understanding of various terms, including fisheries worker voice, grievance mechanisms and procedures, works committees, worker empowerment tools and feedback technology, hotlines, collective organizing, freedom of association, fish worker trade unions, participative management, worker representation, and social dialogue.

Using the results from the survey, GSA hopes to gain a better understanding of what worker voice means for crews on fishing vessels around the world.

“We aim to document and analyze everything we find, to draw out examples of what does and doesn’t work around the world, then build consensus and a matrix around what ‘best’ could look like, compared to where we are at the current time. This will be published in a white paper,” GSA Director of Strategic Engagement Melanie Siggs told SeafoodSource.

GSA aims to build traceable, assured seafood supply chains for the future, working with partners where standards exist, and creating new standards where needed. In 2020 GSA became the new home for the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme, which is the only vessel level certification program available on a global scale. Crew health, safety, and well-being are an important part of the scheme, and GSA said it’s keen to strengthen this aspect further.  

“The project arose because we could find no common expectation around the world of what worker voice means, which makes it difficult to write an indicator for any standard. We are now addressing this with research funding from the Packard Foundation, and are keen to learn how workers get their individual and collective voices heard, and what access they have to third parties to resolve disputes,” Siggs said.

She expects that other standard holders, regulators, and those setting up fisheries improvement projects (FIPs), for example, will find the results useful for their own work.

“For GSA, as a minimum, we want to be able to say: If you are a certified fishing vessel, this is what you should expect of safe access to a third party worker voice mechanism,” she said.

By creating the survey in eight languages, and having a network of people seeking feedback around the world, GSA hopes to reach as many people as possible.

The survey is available in Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, Indonesian, Spanish, Thai, English, Vietnamese and French.

The deadline for completing the survey is Monday, 17 August.

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