How to improve work situations

REPORT | 21 November 2009

When employees contribute in the ethical work of the company the effect of policies and codes of conducts is greater.

This report examines three specific cases: Trelleborg’s conduct after an industrial dispute at one of its factories in Sri Lanka, Dem Collective’s ethical business concept and Lindex’s attempts to influence two of its suppliers in the city of Noida in India. The three different processes described in this report have created changes of partially different character. ThenTrelleborg case shows what a collective agreement and an ongoing mutual dialogue between companies and local unions can achieve. Dem Collective represents a Swedish company formed with the objective of setting a high level in terms of working conditions and environment. Lindex, finally, represents a major trend among large Swedish clothing companies working with codes, inspections and supplier collaboration to improve working conditions for factory workers. The aim has not been to compare the different companies but to examine each individual case in its own context and to highlight what has improved in each of the factories, and how this occurred. The study analyses the actors who were involved in the process, whether the changes were brought about by conflict or cooperation, the frameworks that played the greatest roles, whether the changes helped to transform structures and systems in the workplace and if the changes also acted as an engine for change outside the workplace, such as in other factories in the neighbourhood, or if the CSR activities have even helped to stimulate general democratisation.

Made in collaboration with: The Church of Sweden & Fair Trade Center