Former migrant workers and forced labour victims at Possehl Electronics in Malaysia who returned to their home countries after Possehl severed ties with their employment agency have now received compensation for the cost of their travel home thanks to collaboration between Electronics Watch and the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). The JS Global Services agency had confiscated their passports, delayed wage payments for months, made illegal deductions from their wages, and violently threatened the workers when they asked for their wages.
On September 8, more than 60 people participated in the Electronics Watch webinar "Public Procurement in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Resilience through Sustainability." Twelve speakers – experts in public procurement, monitoring and social auditing from nine countries – contributed their ideas on how to strengthen social and environmental responsibility in public procurement, conduct effective supply chain engagement, and support meaningful worker participation.
Based on extensive consultations with monitoring and auditing experts, this Guidance standardizes and explains the Electronics Watch worker-driven monitoring methodology step by step. It is intended to ensure Electronics Watch monitoring everywhere follows the same high standard and can drive the change that is needed on the ground.
Electronics Watch has just released the new assessment tool 'Human Rights Due Diligence and Covid-19 - Assessment of Public Buyers' ICT Supply Chains'. It supports public buyers in their efforts to ensure human rights due diligence in their supply chains in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The tool consists of questions public buyers can pose to their suppliers about occupational health and safety, labour rights, and other supply chain issues that Covid-19 impact. Public buyers can use the tool as a self-assessment questionnaire for suppliers and/or a guidance for human rights due diligence.
Electronics Watch has released a new tool that will allow affiliates to track the performance of companies in their supply chains. Developed with critical input from affiliates, the Company Performance Tracker (CPT) evaluates company performance of their contractual obligations to protect the rights of workers in electronics supply chains. The tool also takes into account comments from industry representatives.
On May 7, 2020, toxic Styrene gas leaked from the LG Polymers Chemical plant, a unit of South Korean LG Chem, near Visakhapatnam in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The gas leak has killed 12 persons and sickened more than 1,000 people and has been covered widely in the media in India and globally as a tragedy reminiscent of the Bhopal gas tragedy 36 years ago. Electronics Watch and Cividep, our monitoring partner in India, support the calls of the local community and others for full remediation for the victims, and for a thorough investigation by the relevant authorities to discover and publish the causes of this tragedy.
Our recent publication "When Compliance is Not Enough - Why victims of forced labour should be partners in the remediation design" shows just why it is essential that workers are involved in the process of remediation, and raises a fundamental question about the limits of responsible business conduct: When companies address violations in their supply chains in accordance with their codes of conduct, but workers still suffer serious harm, does human rights due diligence require the companies to do more? Listen also to the recorded statement from a former worker at Possehl.
The much awaited UK Government's Modern Slavery Statement published recently highlights the work they are doing with Electronics Watch to tackle modern slavery in their ICT hardware and electronics supply chains.
Electronics Watch is delighted to welcome four new affiliates, one of which is the first international organisation to affiliate - the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Julia Rutz, Senior Adviser with the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings said: "This is an important step, that the OSCE as a promotor of policies on prevention of human trafficking in public sector supply chains also took the strategic decision to ensure that its own supply chains and procurement practices do not contribute to human trafficking."
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.