The Hermes application implemented by HiQ for the Finnish Industrial Union (Teollisuusliitto) shares reliable information about Finnish working life with seasonal workers. Now the code and architecture of the application have been released and can be used by other trade unions free of charge for the same use case.
The Hermes application, developed in a project financed by the Industrial Union’s TYÖ2030 program, has already been downloaded to 3,000 phones by the end of April 2023. Out of the nearly 3,000 users of the application, 77% are employees and 23% are employers.
The application is most commonly used in Finnish, Russian and Ukrainian. Among issues related to working conditions, users have been particularly interested in topics related to working hours and salary.
During the spring of 2023, the application has been released for use by other trade unions free of charge. The application's architecture and intended use must remain original to get the license. The agreement of implementation is made with Teollisuusliitto and HiQ. From the very beginning, the starting point was to build an easily scalable application with a simple structure that also works on older phones.
"The application is usable for any contract sector as it is. The people of the Industrial Union guide the production of the content, and the technical side is easy to implement together with HiQ, whose expertise in this field is as far developed as it can be. The application could be in high demand, especially for the service and construction industries", estimates Anu-Hanna Anttila, Head of Research at the Finnish Industrial Union and Project Manager of the Hermes project.
In Finland, 90% of agricultural workers are seasonal workers from abroad, for whom Finnish working conditions, rights and obligations of the employee are unfamiliar due to their own or the employer's lack of language skills. The situation is also the same in forestry. Metal industry sectors, especially vehicle manufacturers already have employees who have moved to Finland more permanently. In addition, foreign labor has entered the country through personnel service companies and subcontractors in the metal industry.
In addition to foreign workers, the application also serves young people employed in various fields. The application is completely non-commercial and does not collect user information. The Finnish Industry Association has produced a “Living in Finland” section for the app, which other unions can use free of charge. The constantly updated section contains, for example, instructions related to the Finnish working culture, KELA and occupational health care.
"The general purpose Hermes application clarifies the rules of the game in working life and is available to all employees and employers - not just union members. Our multi-phased and demanding technology project can also be utilized by other sectors. Of course, they remain responsible for producing their own content and related costs. We know from experience that plain language contract text produced in different languages requires work. Usually, the changes to be updated are quite small," says Anttila.
HiQ's business consultant, Jonas Pomoell, praises the Industrial Union’s innovativeness.
"They have understood how they can benefit the entire field by their own investment. Licensing an application for social purposes is extremely modern. The HiQ team is proud to be involved in putting good things into circulation."