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SKF World Union Committee: in times of trouble solidarity is needed

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27 September, 2016On 20-22 September about 50 workers’ and trade union representatives from Europe, Asia and North America where SKF Group, the world-leading producer of bearings, has operations, came to Poznan, Poland. The participants exchanged views on labour related issues in SKF, including the upcoming changes in the group.

On 20 September, group CEO Alrik Danielson and other senior management members, introduced their views on the latest development and future shape of the group. They also briefly discussed the perspectives for the group with the employees’ representatives. Management spoke quite openly about opportunities and challenges that the group faces, but unfortunately, there was not enough time to discuss in-depth the employees’ views on these matters.

One of the major drivers in SKF’s development will be the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’, also known as Industry 4.0. This also became clear from the comments and requests made by the workers’ representatives.

During the second day the participants focused expressly on employees matters, including presentations of the health and safety projects as well as new management and flexibility efforts at SKF plant in Poznan, Poland.

IndustriALL representative, Matthias Hartwich, director for materials industries and mechanical engineering, addressed the delegates and observers of the SKF World Union Committee saying,

"Company management that has a long-lasting history of local, regional and global social dialogue, such as SKF, should have nothing to hide in the discussions with its World Union Committee. Especially in times of trouble, management will need support and understanding on the employees’ side. A true openness and social dialogue, including information and consultation, is not only of added value for the workers and their trade unions, but also for the company.“

The delegates held active discussions during the entire conference. They also jointly indicated their clear willingness to support the process of strengthening genuine social dialogue both on local and global levels. On 21 September they positioned themselves in favour of such a form of improved social dialogue.

On 22 September the group visited the SKF Poznan plant, where delegates could see the projects presented earlier in action and discuss the situation in the plant with plant management. Next year the meeting will most likely take place in Gothenburg, Sweden.