In order to achieve more productivity, the SME workplaces are being improved. A new initiative of SCORE training program by the ILO helped a lot of small companies in China to improve their work conditions and the employers say that it is helping them.
Small and medium enterprises ( SMEs ) make up 60 per cent of China’s national industrial output and create nearly 80 per cent of jobs. They tend to have lower level of compliance with the nation’s labour laws. Such as unregulated or excessive work hours or failure to adhere to legal wage rates and benefits, strained industrial relations, inadequate safety, and a lack of health protection for workers. All of these resulted in the lower productivity rates.
While facing this increasing price competition with growing expectations from customers to provide improved working conditions, how SME battle or engage in the Global market place is the next big question. There is a positive association between good workplace practices and positive enterprise-level outcomes which includes decreased staff turnover, improved profitability and greater customer satisfaction. This is what the ILO’s Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Program has clearly exhibited. The training can help achieve this, being contrary to misconceptions that formal training for smaller enterprises is less tailored and more expensive, and the disruption to work is costly.
China first engaged with the SCORE Program in 2009, initially functioning with the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) in Liaoning, Chongqing, Sichuan, Zhejiang and Shanghai, to target few sectors such as manufacturing of machines, auto parts and garments. In March 2017, the ILO launched a new project to increase the productivity and theworking conditions in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, and Shanghai, under the SCORE Program, in partnership with the UK based Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), an association of companies, trade unions and NGOs that endorses respect for workers’ rights around the globe.
SCORE training mainly emphasized on the importance of closely involving the workforce, building cooperation with managements in order to support the initiatives aimed at improving enterprise performance. It also highlighted on the establishment of sustainable management systems which ensured that the good practices will continue after these training concluded. SMEs, which had a high job creation potential, but mostly also had significant decent work deficits which were the ultimate beneficiaries. And, in development of cooperation, SCORE Training contributed to economic and social development as well as poverty lessening. It helped create a win/win situation for them. The five SCORE Training modules cover- Workplace Cooperation, Quality Management, Clean Production, Human Resource Management, Occupational Safety and Health. Each module was a two day classroom training process for training the managers and the workers. This was followed by the on-site consultations with the industry experts which helped the training to be more efficient in putting the training action into workforce. The ILO/ETI initiative was co-funded by develoPPP.de, a German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) programme which helped the German and the European enterprises to run long-term projects that combined business practices and the development policy targets. To add to this partnership, ILO SCORE Programme will enter its final and third Phase in November 2017, with funding until October 2021.