DUO/SSO-Noord, part of Dutch Ministry of Education, is now an Electronics Watch affiliate. DUO/SSO-Noord is responsible for purchasing datacentres for over 56 organisations within the Dutch national government. The signing ceremony took place on Wednesday July 12, 2017.
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Electronics Watch is delighted to release The Electronics Watch Contractor Guidance, a detailed and comprehensive due diligence guide for ICT hardware contractors that sell products to public sector buyers. The Guidance is designed to help these contractors comply with the Electronics Watch Contract Conditions and similar contract performance standards that aim to improve working conditions in factories that make the goods public sector organisations buy.
Electronics Watch is happy to release two regional risk assessments, previously confidential to affiliates. The Regional Risk Assessment of the Electronics Industry in China (October 2016, carried out by Economic Rights Institute, Globalization Monitor, and Labour Education Services Network) and the Regional Risk Assessment of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry in the Philippines (December 2016, by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights), are posted on the resources section of the Electronics Watch website. The former finds risks of forced labour, discrimination against women workers, underpayment of social security obligations, and abusive termination of employment. Both assessments point to health and safety hazards, violations of collective bargaining rights, and illegal working hours. A risk assessment tool reflecting the findings in the Risk Assessments is available to affiliates.
The Electronics Watch monitoring methodology is worker-driven monitoring. Workers' needs and priorities guide our monitoring. Our goal is that workers should be able to bring a complaint and initiate an investigation, be informed of the investigatory findings, and involved in developing solutions. How can this methodology be implemented in the electronics industry in China? In late April, 2017, representatives of more than a dozen organisations in mainland China and Hong Kong gathered to explore this question and to do monitoring skill building.
Combating Precarious Work in the Electronics Industry: Monitoring, Webinars, and the 2017 Electronics Watch Conference
Because precarious work so profoundly impacts workers' day-to-day work experience, restricts their possibility for a voice in the workplace, and undermines their economic security, Electronics Watch seeks to identify, mitigate and prevent harm to workers associated with precarious work arrangements, whether legal or illegal. Following are some of the activities that are being conducted specifically around this theme.
The University of Groningen in the North of the Netherlands, has become the third Dutch university to affiliate to Electronics Watch. The University includes integrated sustainable development in its teaching and research, as well as in its business operations, and hopes to set an inspiring example promoting sustainability and actively involving and facilitating students in sustainable activities. The University also collaborates closely with public institutions and the government.
Electronics Watch is happy to announce its second full consortium affiliation, ITSH-edu, the working group of IT- and IT-procurement departments of universities and research institutions in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany's northernmost federal state. ITSH-edu serves as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas among its members and is increasingly used as a common interface to Schleswig-Holstein's government institutions. ITSH-edu's (currently 14) members identify and perform common projects in IT-technology and procurement.
A recent ILO analysis of "just-in-time" production and related procurement practices in the electronics industry reports on research in five countries that found that 80-90% of production workers have only temporary contracts during peak production periods. Flexible and precarious work arrangements are increasingly common in the global electronics industry. Workers may be employed by a labour broker or third party rather than the factory where they work. They may have short-term insecure contracts and no long-term job security or social benefits.
Electronics Watch has produced draft guidance to help contractors comply with Electronics Watch related contract clauses and is currently soliciting stakeholder comments from a wide range of public sector procurers, labour rights organisations, companies and industry organisations. Intended for IT suppliers that have contracts with Electronics Watch affiliates, the Guidance defines the concrete, time-bound due diligence steps contractors must take towards complying with labour rights and safety standards in global supply chains, achieving supply chain transparency, and cooperating with Electronics Watch monitors.
Electronics Watch is pleased to announce the affiliation of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) in the UK. SUPC is a membership-based buying organization for universities and further education colleges that develops and manages framework agreements. SUPC leads the procurement of servers and storage equipment as well as IT-related parts and accessories for UK higher education institutions and other members.