SWP responding to Covid-19

Engaging to save workplaces, lives and livelihoods

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing significant disruption, threatening millions of lives and livelihoods. SWP is mobilising its networks to provide information on business and employer organizations’ efforts. By sharing, we hope it can provide practical and strategic actions to minimise disruption to productivity, secure the safety and health at the workplace.

A UN Poster from the Call for Creatives


SWP arranges webinars where companies and organisations discuss and share examples of what works in a specific context. We conducted a survey with participating companies in Africa to adjust interventions as per the needs. We also provide lessons learned from social dialogue and health at workplace from our previous programme SWHAP that took actions in the area of wellness.

Regardless the crisis, our experience from businesses engaged in social dialogue is that if there are committees in place – use them to gain speed in employees and management solving and advancing jointly. Use and learn from other companies in the SWP-network.

More recent highlights


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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