New phase of ILO programme to begin soon

CHENNAI, NOV. 1. The South Asia and Vietnam Project on Tripartism and Social Dialogue launched by the International Labour Organisation in 1999 is to be taken to a new phase shortly to enable beneficiary enterprises to have cross-country exposure to industrial culture and practices.

Under the SAVPOT, personnel of industrial units at the level of managers and workmen are encouraged to come together and identify problems and priorities, without an agenda being imposed by outside experts.

Though bipartite relations have been common in India and other Asian countries, they have largely been restricted to industrial disputes and rarely used to explore ways of achieving efficiency and productivity and enterprise competitiveness, which are the focus of SAVPOT.

``The programme inculcates among workmen the confidence to carry on productive communication with managements on long-term issues of relevance to the enterprise concerned'', says Mr. Inge-Ernald Simonsen, Chief Technical Adviser for SAVPOT, based in New Delhi.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Simonsen, who holds a doctorate in engineering and is also qualified in psychology from his native Norway, said five Indian enterprises - Mahindra and Mahindra, Titan Industries, TELCO, Balmer Lawrie and Universal Luggage Manufacturing Company - were among those covered by the SAVPOT so far.

The companies represented a mix of public and private sectors and large and medium units.

The ILO, according to Mr. Simonsen, is planning to organise from January study tours by the staff of participating enterprises to their counterparts in other countries, with a view to enriching one another's experience in this `social dialogue'. The SAVPOT pilot stage has been implemented so far in 17 select enterprises in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

By disseminating their experience under the SAVPOT, the enterprises, the ILO hoped, would work as ``ambassadors of social dialogue'', said Mr Simonsen, who is here to participate in the three-day workshop of the ILO on ``social dialogue and freedom of association in export promotion zones (EPZs) in South Asia''.

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