2015 January 9

Hong Kong Workshop discusses Electronics Watch Monitoring, Improvement & Reform Programmes

On Sunday 23 and Monday 24 November Electronics Watch held a workshop in Hong Kong with the objective of discussing the Electronics Watch Monitoring & Improvement and Reform Programmes. The workshop consisted of over 30 participants from civil society organisations, trade unions, labour rights groups and improvement initiatives from Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and the US.

Electronics Watch's approach is defined by continuous information gathering and close cooperation with local civil society organisations and trade unions. Through this approach, Electronics Watch offers a strong pro-labour oriented alternative in place of currently corporate-driven commercial social auditing practices.

The workshop in Hong Kong facilitated the inputs of the participants who have direct and deep knowledge and expertise on the issues addressed such as Freedom of Association, Occupational Health and Safety, Wages, and Precarious Labour. It was concluded that Electronics Watch monitoring and intelligence gathering is not an end in itself, but a means towards resolving specific complaints of labour rights violations and, even more importantly, bringing about sustainable improvements for workers. The Electronics Watch Reform programme will contribute to structural changes in business practices, on the basis of the increased leverage derived from multiple public buyers or bulk contracts over brands and manufacturers.

The workshop discussed different strategies and tools available for monitoring and improving working conditions on the factory floor, and considered many diverse country-specific factors, in addition to potential management responses. Participants made suggestions for the reform agenda, for instance with regard to the living wage and responsible chemicals management. Furthermore, several experiences were presented, which were then analysed and debated in terms of their implications for the principles and practical implementation of the Monitoring & Improvement and Reform Programmes.

Overall, the workshop helped to flesh out the operational methodology of Electronics Watch in production countries and to create synergies and shared knowledge among all participants. The close cooperation of Electronics Watch with its many partners is essential for the development and implementation of the monitoring and improvement activities and the reform of business practices. Electronics Watch will continue to develop its activities in consultation with these partners far into the future of the project.