Monday, November 08, 2010
Sweatshop conditions abound in electronics industry
Intramuros, Manila, the Philippines, 6 November 2010.
Electronics workers around the world are denied their basic labour rights. Workers toil in sweatshops conditions under harsh management, without the protection of trade unions. Jobs in the electronics sector are insecure, and contract labour and temporary employment are rife in manufacturing companies. Well known brands are making profit at the expense of workers, in the Philippines as well as in numerous other electronics producing countries.
From 3-5 November, the international GoodElectronics Network held its general membership meeting in Rosario, Cavite to forge plans to confront the appalling conditions in the global industry. The Philippines Workers Assistance Center (WAC) and other local groups hosted the gathering of trade unions, labour groups and environmental organisations from all over the world. At the meeting, grave concerns were raised about environmental issues and ongoing violations of labour rights in the electronics sector. Shamefully, leading brand name companies and their suppliers fail to comply with internationally recognised standards. Workers are systematically denied their right to freedom of association and to collective bargaining.
In the Nokia Special Economic Zone in Chennai, India, union leaders and workers at Nokia supplier Foxconn have been subject to intimidation, suspension, arrests and criminal charges for simply requesting wage increases and recognition of their union. A second Nokia supplier in the same Zone, BYD, resorted to mass dismissals of workers, including many contract workers, in response to their legitimate demands for union recognition and improved working conditions.
In Taiwan, touch panel maker YFO, supplying Samsung and HTC, is criticised for ongoing union busting. One of the active trade union leaders at YFO is currently under severe pressure – after YFO unwillingly reinstated her after an unlawful dismissal, she is now kept under constant surveillance.
In Foxconn China, supplier to Apple and other well known brands, draconian working conditions have driven 17 workers to attempt suicide and 14 of them have died. Despite these tragedies, the management still refuses to reform the harsh management methods that are applied at the work place.
JVC Malaysia, member of the JVC-Kenwood Group, producing components for cameras, video and audio equipment, has threatened to terminate the employment of 23 Burmese women migrant workers. The workers filed a complaint to the Labour Department about JVC wrongfully making deductions from their wages in order to recover the levy paid by employers for employing foreign workers. If their employment is terminated, they will face forced repatriation and no prospect whatsoever of recovering their lost wages if their claim is accepted.
In the Philippines, at Lite-On Semiconductor Corporations, formerly known as Dyna Image, in the Cavite Export Processing Zone, the privacy of women workers is systematically violated. Women workers are subjected to violations of their personal integrity. Women job applicants are subjected to intrusive physical examinations as a condition for employment. The Solidarity of Cavite Workers, a workers alliance, unearthed this shocking practice. Lite-On produces camera modules for Samsung laptops and mobile phones.
GoodElectronics is an international network for human rights and sustainability in the global electronics supply chain. The GoodElectronics Network accommodates networks, organisations and individuals that are concerned about human rights, including labour rights, and sustainability issues in the global electronics supply chain, including trade unions, grass roots organisations, campaigning and research organisations, academia, and activists.
international network coordinator.
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