In June 2012, FWF hosted a roundtable meeting in Shanghai to collect input from local stakeholders on its Workplace Education Program (WEP).
The overall goal of the program is to develop effective ways for factory workers and managers to communicate about and resolve disputes. FWF envisions that annual roundtables in its priority countries (Bangladesh, China, India and Turkey) will help to guide the design, implementation and evaluation of the program over the next several years.
The meeting in Shanghai was attended by 16 representatives of FWF member factories, local NGOs and delegates from China’s national textile association and the trade union ACFTU. Participants reported that a common perspective is emerging in China: that factories must adopt new ways for effective communication with workers.
More effective approaches to communicating with workers could make a substantial difference in reducing worker turnover – one of the main challenges now facing employers. Many managers are finding that China’s new generation of workers, born in the late 1980s and 1990s, expect to listened to more than earlier generations. To retain workers, factories must develop themselves as ‘harmonious organisations’.
During the program, participants exchanged experiences and best practices with regard to worker/management training. Topics included:
- How could trainings help to make existing grievance mechanisms more effective?
- How could factory workers and management most benefit from the trainings?
- How should the benefits of participation be explained to factory managers?
- How can trainings be tailored to different factories?
- Which challenges should be anticipated?
- How should the results and effectiveness of the trainings be assessed?
Input from the meeting will help to guide the design of the program. In late 2012, FWF will host the next roundtable to discuss learnings from pilot trainings which will be held during the autumn.