90 participants from 18 countries, including 28 public buyers, attended the Electronics Watch Annual Conference 2017: Ending Precarious Labour – Public Buyers' Role in Protecting the Rights of Electronics Workers for what proved to be an intense and eye-opening day with contributions from a wide array of experts in socially responsible public procurement and labour rights in the global electronics industry.
Electronics Watch has released a Regional Risk Assessment of the Electronics Industry in India. The report documents factory compliance with labour laws in India and the Electronics Watch Code of Labour Standards in order to highlight the risks workers face. Precarious workers—temporary, contract, daily-wage, apprentices and trainees—are particularly vulnerable to labour rights abuses, the report shows.
The Electronics Watch Annual Conference 2017: Ending Precarious Labour - Public Buyers' Role in Protecting the Rights of Electronics Workers, will be held at the Octagon at Queen Mary University of London, on December 7. It is organised in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London, the Business, Human Rights and the Environment Research Group at University of Greenwich and Good Electronics. The Conference boasts speakers who are leading practitioners in the field of socially responsible public procurement, experts in international labour rights, and grassroots workplace monitors from electronics production regions around the world. This is a sustainable event, with fair trade beverages and refreshments, recycled materials, a minimum of waste, and carbon offsets for those traveling from afar.
Electronics Watch is thrilled to announce the hiring of Peter Pawlicki, Director of Outreach and Education. Based in Germany, Peter will be working to support and recruit public sector buyers in Europe and elsewhere, and coordinate Electronics Watch's role in the Make ICT Fair project. This is a new 3-million euro EC funded project that will address both manufacturing and mining in the electronics industry though policy, finance, and public procurement strategies.
The European Commission has granted three million euros funding for the three year project Make ICT Fair - Reforming Manufacture & Minerals Supply Chains through Policy, Finance & Public Procurement. Electronics Watch is one of 10 co-applicants, which also include the University of Edinburgh, an affiliate and founding member of Electronics Watch, and former NGO EW founding partners, Sudwind (Austria), People and Planet (UK), and SETEM Catalunya. New coalition partners include ICLEI, which organises the triennial EcoProcura conferences.
Public service union UNISON has become the first trade union to affiliate to Electronics Watch, and the first trade union in the UK to ensure the electronics they purchase are independently monitored for workers' rights violations. UNISON is one of the UK's largest trade unions, serving more than 1.3 million members. As the first affiliate outside the public sector, UNISON is participating in a pilot scheme to evaluate what Electronics Watch can offer not-for-profit civil society organisations and trade unions that buy significant amounts of ICT hardware products.
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.
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.