ITUC Arab Region
Communicating workers’ rights
By Farah Dakhlallah, ILO Regional Communication Officer for Arab States
A communication strategy presents your trade
unions’ values and ideas, actions, goals and
aspirations to the outside world.
5 Golden Rules
Leadership – who will lead on communication decisions
Clear messaging – clear agenda and supporting messages
Regular planning – gather information and use it strategically
Effective coordination – have processes to enforce
Good posture – proactive stance towards media & public
Assess your capacity
List your organization’s strengths and weaknesses
List opportunities to communicate (events,
Assess your environment
How different stakeholders perceive you
What does your communication strategy aim to achieve?
Clear, bold, attainable and time-bound
Encapsulates the aim of your communication strategy and
sends a message about the purpose of your work to others
“To better serve our members, our organization should in the
next 5 years be recognized as an authoritative voice by news
mediums of all types on workplace-related issues, especially
those pertaining to Freedom of Association and Collective
What activities will you engage in and with whom?
What outcome do you expect from this activity? When
do you expect it will be achieved?
What tools/methods will the programme use to
measure the outcome?
What degree or level of the desired outcome do you
want to achieve to indicate success Over what period of
How many people will directly benefit from this activity?
Who will they be?
What is my organization’s long term goal?
“to increase the number of members protected under CB
agreements by 10% in next 3-5 years.”
What is the specific objective?
“Labour relations act amended to provide migrant workers the
same union recognition and bargaining rights as other sectors”
Prioritize your audiences
How much do they agree with your position?
How much influence do they have on your outcome?
Who are the relevant groups?
What is their relationship to the issue?
Why do you consider them important?
How would they be involved?
How close are they to your position?
How much influence do they have?
What is their attitude to the problem?
Who has influence over them?
What is important to them?
Concise and persuasive statement about the larger,
more complicated, conceptual point you are trying
State the problem & prescribe a solution
Purpose is to generate action
Clear, tailored to target audience, acceptable,
Key messages on FACB
(adapt to local contexts)
Improves economic competitiveness and foreign investment
Adds to economic stability
Provides for dispute resolution and reduces conflict
Enhances skills development and training
Helps manage change
Improves health and safety
Voice for workers and employers in the informal economy
Improves access to social protection
Key dates, events and national/local development
Select opportunity consistent with your media
Check what others are doing
Establish a connection between event and FACB
Synchronize your message
Localize your message
Database of media contacts
Information collection and packaging system
Generic information package
List of in-house experts
Media materials on key issues (Q&As, policy briefs, etc.)
Media focal points
Contact management system
Identify media outreach opportunities
Determine form of outreach
What to do if a journalist calls you
Identity, news organization
Best person to answer questions
Log of all media requests
Decide what you want to talk about (talking points)
Express your ideas effectively (clear, concise, factual, and
If you don’t know the answer, be honest and say you’ll check
No such thing as “off the record”
State your most important message first, talk about what you
have heard or seen yourself, relate how the situation is affecting
others with compassion
Tips for dealing with media
Be a resource
Know your facts
Always be pleasant, respectful and more
reasonable than your opponents
Brings together other
media outputs (press
releases, videos, feature
A basic package of materials (press release/
backgrounder/ Factsheet/ brochure about
organization/ speeches/ other relevant documents)
Identify key messages
Identify key resource persons/ media focal point
Identify media focal points
Develop a communication strategy and workplan
with clear, time-bound and attainable objectives
with measurable outcomes