Empowering women, decent work

Zhejiang Jiaotong is a large state-owned enterprise owned by Zhejiang Province, with its main business covering transportation infrastructure, finance and comprehensive development of transportation resources. The group started to introduce ILO's SCORE programme in its subsidiaries in June 2017, and as of October 19, a total of over 150 subordinate project departments or branches have implemented the SCORE programme.

In March 2018, Zhejiang Jiaotong started to launch the SCORE training programme in Quzhou service area. The service area has a total of 129 employees, of whom 64 are male and 65 are female, and has set up an EIT team comprising four managers and six frontline operators, of whom five are male and five are female. the EIT team holds regular weekly meetings to discuss various issues raised by employees and form solutions to implement.

01 How do you cope with a complex operating environment?
The highway service area covers different areas such as petrol stations, customer service areas, hazardous chemical parking areas and general parking areas, providing a variety of services such as parking, refuelling, car maintenance, shopping, catering, sanitary bathing and charging, etc. Moreover, there are more than 10 partner shops in the service area, with heavy dynamic management tasks, many industries involved, diverse personnel movements and varying service quality.

Faced with such a complex operating environment, the management hopes to achieve four major objectives through the SCORE project.
Firstly, to establish an effective communication mechanism to understand the needs of staff and to reduce internal conflicts in management.
Secondly, to establish a sound and efficient system that integrates production, operation and management, and to improve the management level.
Third, to improve the overall operating environment, enhance service capacity and achieve energy saving and consumption reduction.
Fourthly, to promote standardisation of safety management by taking staff suggestions as a guide.
To this end, Quzhou Service Area has selected Module 1: Workplace Cooperation - the foundation for business success, and Module 5: Occupational Safety and Health - the productivity platform to advance the ILO SCORE project. The Business Group hopes that by experimenting in the Quzhou service area, a new model of benchmarking and replicable sustainable management can be explored for the hundreds of pairs of service areas across the company.

Workplace collaboration
After the implementation of the project, the "bottom-up" SCORE concept, in which the management encourages the participation of grassroots staff, has changed the traditional "top-down" management model and cultivated a sense of ownership among the staff, thus forming a new management concept that is people-oriented and staff-directed. The new management concept has effectively stimulated the enthusiasm of the staff.

Employees have put forward various suggestions for improvement. From the official launch of the first module training on 26 June 2018 to February 2019, the EIT team received 181 staff proposals, of which 145 proposals were adopted by the EIT team, accounting for 80% of the total number of proposals, and 98 proposals from grassroots staff, accounting for 54%. These proposals have strongly contributed to the service level and management efficiency of the service area, and have also greatly improved the safety production standards.

Safety risk control
In terms of safety risk control, the safety hazards in the service area were comprehensively assessed and safety risk identification maps were set up in each functional area. Based on the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Deal) cycle model, all staff participated in the identification, inspection, rectification and public announcement of safety risks in the service area, allowing all staff to take part in the safety assurance actions. After the rectification, the safety standards of the entire service area have been greatly improved. For example, according to the complex fire safety needs of the service area, the previous situation of scattered fire-fighting equipment was changed and a micro fire station was set up as an integrated fire prevention, fire-fighting and emergency disposal point according to the safety standards of each functional area, which not only saves emergency response time but also enhances the emergency disposal capability for emergencies.

In addition, it also set up a standardised power distribution room for the problem of uneven hardware configuration of the previous service area distribution rooms, and unified the safety facilities, signs and management standards of the room, which played a positive role in strictly guaranteeing the safety of electricity consumption.

02 Empowering women to promote gender equality
Yang Qingxiang, 53, a native of Datang Village, Xiaonanhai Township, Longyou County, is only 5 km away from the service area. After graduating from high school, she has been working as a farmer at home, growing oranges. 2008 saw a bumper harvest of over 40,000 kilograms of oranges, but at a loss of less than 20 cents per kilogram, so she had to go out to work.

In February 2009, Yang Qingxiang was recruited to work in the Quzhou service area as a general housekeeper, responsible for cleaning the public toilets and the lobby, and in April 2013, she was promoted to the head of the service area's cleaning team. The service area cleaning team has a total of 26 employees, of which 15 are female and 11 are male. They are basically people with a background like Yang Qingxiang, from the nearby countryside, aged around 50 and with a low level of education.

After the SCORE training started in June 2018, Qingxiang Yang was selected as a member of the EIT team to attend the SCORE training and learnt that the SCORE project has an important mission to promote gender equality. Therefore, at the EIT meetings, she actively suggested, according to her work nature and gender identity, to increase the distribution of dust masks to the toilet attendants, to add privacy film and door curtains to the mother and baby room, and to hold seminars on women's health, which were all adopted. It also inspired other female workers to suggest adding cotton seat cushions to benches in winter, installing humidifiers in dry areas, as well as purchasing dishwashers, distributing birth control supplies and providing brown sugar.

These improvements and knowledge talks have been effective in protecting the health of female workers, safeguarding women's legal rights and promoting gender equality in the workplace. "With these changes in place, the entire cleaning team of staff feel much more comfortable." Yang Qingxiang said, "In the past, I always felt that I was doing a job that was inferior to others. the SCORE training has made me understand that although I am doing cleaning work, we are all equal in personality and I don't feel that my job is undignified anymore."

03 Small improvements solve big problems
Xu Pinhong, 52, is an employee of the kitchen class. She was also a woman working as a farmer in the nearby countryside and came to the kitchen class in the service area as a cook in 2015.

The freezer in the service area's kitchen is where all kinds of frozen food are stored. The kitchen freezer is fitted with a mechanical lock and when the lock fails, people entering the freezer will be unable to open the door. As the freezer door is thick and soundproof, no one outside can hear the distress of those locked in the freezer.

Xu Pinhong goes in and out of the freezer every day to pick up the frozen food that he needs on a daily basis. Following the SCORE project, her kitchen team also held an internal meeting to encourage people to suggest improvements to their own environment. Xu Pinhong, for one, said that the mechanical lock on the freezer was prone to failure and was a major safety hazard. She suggested installing an alarm device at the door of the freezer so that if someone was locked in the freezer, she/he could press the alarm and notify other workers for timely assistance.

Xu Pinhong's suggestion was adopted by the EIT meeting and was quickly implemented. An audible and visual alarm device was installed on each door of all the freezers. Thankfully, it was this improvement that prevented a major safety incident.

Shortly after the alarm was installed, a female worker was locked in the freezer and could not open the door. She promptly pressed the alarm button on the inside of the freezer door and the audible and visual alarms on the outside of the door immediately went off, and upon hearing the alarm, a nearby worker arrived in time to open the door and get her out.