Benefits of dialogues in workplaces were highlighted in Vietnam




In cooperation with partners SWP enabled interaction between different industry sectors and the union in Vietnam to address the importance of dialogue in the workplace. The seminars highlighted benefits for sustainable business, crisis management as well as good working conditions.

How social dialogue in the workplace contributes to better working conditions and sustainable business was the focus when SWP, the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, VCCI and the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam hosted a seminar in Hanoi.

The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde, emphasized in her keynote speech that:

Social dialogue in the workplace is not only a means to an end but also an end in itself. It stresses the value of the individual worker, while at the same time creating business and societal economic growth and prosperity.

The over 100 participants representing businesses and workers, government agencies and civil society agreed to this fact and SWP, IKEA, H&M and a supplier to H&M, the Vietnamese company Crystal Martin gave examples on how social dialogue can be conducted at the workplace in benefit of all parties.


SWP, the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, VCCI and the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam hosted a seminar in Hanoi.

Workplace cooperation for better crisis management

SWP and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) gathered representatives from the National Industrial Unions for a seminar about how social dialogue and workplace cooperation can contribute to better crisis management in times of COVID-19.

 “We had good discussions. The participants expressed that they really appreciated the setting and interaction between different industry sectors” says, Nguyen Thu Hien coordinator for SWP in Vietnam.

Currently COVID-19 has halted a period of rapid income and wage growth for workers and households in Vietnam according to the World Bank. The country is slowly getting back to normal from the lockdowns that affected employment, incomes, with closed factories, sometimes having staff living on site for months to maintain the production.

In the seminar SWP introduced how workplace cooperation can be a long-term strategy contributing to the resilience of both companies and employees. This was the first of a series of knowledge seminars in 2022 together with the Vietnamese union on transition and workplace cooperation to develop decent work.

SWP and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) gathered representatives from the National Industrial Unions for a seminar.

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lack of enabling environment for social dialogue at the workplace level, despite the provision of legislative acts that protect and promote workplace cooperation is a reoccuring issue  in Kenya. To implement good policy there must be a fertil ground.

Therefore SWP developed the UP!  project. Together with Swedish companies as an entry point, and with unions i South africa and Kenya. 

In Kenya SWP created the SWP UP! Programme targeting skills development of the union Shop Stewards from 18 companies in the Automotive sector in Kenya during 2021. As a result, the Stewards were able to use their skills to build trust and cooperation with management in new ways to avoid conflicts. 

A second cohort of training, in close cooperation with union AUKMW, takes place in 2022.

The training allows shop stewards to step out of their daily routines and understand their role and the purpose of their union, understand the labour market context, the laws that regulate relationships and the business itself. But on a human level, many shop stewards also highlighted that they feel respected as human beings, and that they have developed the skills to engage with supervisors and management and experience respect in professional relations. The experiences had deeply impressed them and helped to project the vision of dialogue and mutual respect and their own potential as a means to change workplaces.

The intervention of the SWP programme had a direct effect at the workplaces, where shop stewards listed several cases where they had managed to intervene and secure results in dialogue with management, avert crises or find solutions based on opportunities and the communication skills obtained during the SWP training. For the Amalgamated Metal Workers Unions in Kenya, the shop stewards pointed to how the training had enabled them to design their own strategies at the workplace in relation to supervisors and staff, and to achieve many concrete results.

Based on this shop steward upskilling, I feel confident that as a union we now have change ambassadors that will grow the industry, protect, and promote decent work principles for both the employer and the employees represented. And that disputes will be dealt with at the workplace level by though consultative dialogue.

Rose Omamo

General Secretary
Amalgamated Union of Kenya Metal Workers