The new, flu-like virus first observed in China is now a worldwide epidemic with serious consequences and risks for workers' rights. The epidemic's effects will extend well beyond the risk of people becoming ill. Limits on people's mobility will obstruct their return to work, resulting in a loss of income for everyone involved. People will struggle with the restrictive environment of monitoring and quarantining. Electronics Watch and the Economic Rights Institute have released guidance for public buyers to help protect the rights of workers in their supply chains affected by the epidemic.
Cal-Comp Thailand, supplier of printers, external hard disk drives and other computer peripherals, was in the limelight recently after 10,570 migrant factory workers in two facilities received full compensation for excessive recruitment fees they had paid. What happened in this case? What lessons does it offer about remediating debt bondage and forced labour in global supply chains? What remains to be done? Read Cal-Comp: A Lesson in the Importance of Worker-Driven Monitoring to End Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains.
New partnerships, projects and affiliations emerge from the Electronics Watch Annual Conference 2019
Over 100 participants from 22 countries, including 51 public buyers joined the fourth Electronics Watch Annual Conference in Barcelona. The programme boasted some of the world's top experts in socially responsible public procurement, international labour rights, migrants' rights, and occupational health and safety.
The Government of Catalonia and Metropolitan Transport of Barcelona affiliate to Electronics Watch at the Annual Conference of Electronics Watch 2019 in Barcelona
At the inauguration of the Electronics Watch Annual Conference 2019, hosted this year at the Center of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, La Generalitat (Government of Catalonia) announced its affiliation to Electronics Watch. Later in the event, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), the main public transport operator in the Barcelona metropolitan area, also formalized their affiliation to Electronics Watch.
Electronics Watch has released a regional risk assessment of the electronics industry in Vietnam which suggests that risks of breach in the areas of freedom of employment, freedom of association, working hours, and health and safety are of particular concern. A research team with the Center for Development and Integration (CDI) in Vietnam conducted the risk assessment.
The North West Universities Purchasing Consortium (NWUPC) has become the third UK Universities Purchasing Consortium to affiliate to Electronics Watch on behalf of all (32) member organisations, and the eighth consortium in Europe.
Do you want a quick glimpse of Electronics Watch progress and impact? Check out our 2018 Annual Report. Highlights include verified improvements in factories on issues from forced labour to health and safety, strengthened worker voice by taking action on worker complaints, an increase in affiliations from 85 to 305 and the launch of the Public Buyer Toolkit including updated Contract Conditions for affiliates.
Two days prior to the public release of the Economic Rights Institute and Electronics Watch study on the link between employment conditions and employee suicide in China's electronics industry, the Responsible Business Alliance announced a new initiative to improve "worker well-being" in manufacturing supply chains in Asia. While this is a visibly larger investment in quality of life issues than previous industry efforts, the ERI and Electronics Watch urge the industry not to lose sight of the link between these issues, the risk of suicide, and employment conditions.
Lewisham Council has become the second local authority in the UK to be affiliated with Electronics Watch, joining over 300 public sector organisations around the world working to support the rights of workers involved in the supply of electronic items. UNISON, one of the UK's largest trade unions and also an Electronics Watch affiliate, has devised a four-year plan to work with UK public bodies to eliminate the use of goods which are sourced or produced through modern slavery and other abuses of workers.
New Guidance for Remediation of Migrant Worker Recruitment Fees to Help Public Buyers Address Forced Labour
After the recent Call to Industry to Prevent Forced Labour Risks, following a compliance investigation at Cal-Comp Electronics (Thailand), Electronics Watch has published Guidance for Remediation of Migrant Worker Recruitment Fees and Related Costs. The rules refer to the recently adopted ILO Definition of Recruitment Fees and Related Costs, and are intended as a framework for public buyers to detect when the recruitment of migrant workers at any point in their supply chains creates risk of forced labour through debt bondage and guide suppliers in detecting, remedying and preventing recruitment fees and related costs charged to migrant workers.