Local authorities are not doing enough to protect workers' rights globally, according to research published last week by UNISON. According to the report Ethical Procurement in UK Local Authorities, produced by People & Planet on behalf of UNISON, only eight of the 190 local authorities looked at had a standalone ethical procurement policy. One in five local authorities were unable to find evidence of sustainability being part of procurement practices, policies or strategies. There are 20 local authorities amongst Electronics Watch’s 200 affiliates – one is in the UK.
Electronics Watch is delighted to introduce four new members of the Board of Trustees: Daisy Arago of the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR, Philippines); Pauline Göthberg of Stockholm County Council (Sweden); Huib de Langen of University of Groningen (Netherlands) and Sanjiv Pandita of Asian Network for the Rights Of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV). The new board will have equal representation from the three constituent blocks: public buyers, representatives of civil society organisations from the regions of electronics production, and experts in human rights, labour rights, and global supply chains. You can see the full list and bios of the 12 board members here.
Electronics Watch's latest findings on migrant workers' risk of debt bondage and forced labour in the electronics sector in Thailand underscore the need for strong and vigilant civil society organisations that can monitor risk, educate workers about their rights, and craft solutions in collaboration with employers, public officials, and international buyers.
London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) has voted to affiliate to Electronics Watch, on behalf of all 81 of the Consortium's full Member institutions to support work to mitigate human rights abuses in their supply chains. LUPC is the second UK consortium to affiliate all its Members to Electronics Watch, and fourth in Europe.
The University of Washington Women’s Center has urged the State of Washington to develop enforceable anti-human trafficking procurement legislation that requires vendors (state contractors) to map and manage an ethical supply chain. In its report to the State Legislature, “Human Trafficking and Supply Chains - Recommendations to Reduce Human Trafficking in Local and Global Supply Chains,” the Center writes that Washington State should ensure that “all applicable vendor supply chains [are monitored]… by an independent monitoring agency, preferably Electronics Watch for electronics contracts.”
In 2016, the Swiss Canton de Vaud affiliated as a founding member to Electronics Watch, leading the way for the whole purchasing consortium, the Romandy IT Purchasing Partnership (PAIR), to affiliate as of January 1 this year. PAIR is a non-profit association whose purpose is to define and meet the common needs of its active members in order to enable them to procure ICT products and services on the best terms. It brings together some forty members from French-speaking Switzerland, such as cantons, cities, hospitals, universities and public transport companies. En Français
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.