SKF, a world leader in the bearings business, is one of very few multinational corporations that have not only a world works council but a world union council (WUC). This group represents trade union leaders worldwide within SKF. Delegates and observers find the exchange to be very important for all employees in SKF, especially when it comes to challenges for traditional social dialogue structures in the group.
Kennet Carlsson, Swedish chairman of the WUC, said with respect to the discussions with top management:
“This is a unique opportunity to raise the questions that we have towards the management – and we must use it – for the sake of our members and of all employees in SKF.”
The WUC spent a whole day in dialogue with SKF top management, including group president and CEO Alrik Danielson, about the company’s development, strategy and activities. Since SKF is very advanced when it comes to digitization, this was one of the top priorities in the discussions, including skills management and training programmes.
In addition, exchange over other important issues like health and safety programmes, well-being and other company-specific programmes took place.
On 4 October, a joint visit to SKF’s Biasca plant was the most important topic on the agenda. In the Biasca plant, the WUC not only visited the production lines and the logistics centre, but also had the chance to discuss upcoming changes in production and logistics with plant management. The Italian trade unions who hosted the meeting, together with SKF’s local HR team, did their utmost to arrange an interesting and fruitful meeting.
Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL’s director for mechanical engineering, assists the WUC and its steering committee to drive the discussion forward. In his presentation, he encouraged all delegates to increase cross-border dialogue, improve global coordination and overcome borders, especially when politicians in many countries intend to build walls. With respect to the dialogue between top management and the WUC, he summarized:
“I see very mature and open dialogue between top management and trade union representatives to jointly shape the future of SKF. Maybe this can become a showcase for social dialogue in the 21st century.”