Swedish industry and trade unions, with its long history of workplace cooperation, has the unique opportunity to drive social sustainability in the countries where it has operations contributing to decent working conditions and inclusive economic development.
SWP is present in Colombia, South Africa, Kenya and Vietnam. The programme is implemented jointly by the International Council of Swedish industry (NIR) and the Swedish Industrial and Metal Workers’ Union (IF Metall).
Mats Svensson, just retired as International Secretary of the Swedish Industrial and Metal Workers Union, IF Metall and long-time member of the SWHAP and SWP programmes, met up with SWP’s Latin
The Swedish Workplace Programme facilitates companies to achieve sustainable business solutions by promote stronger workplace cooperation.
A 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.