The corporate sector recognizes that the high demand for consumer electronics, like computers and mobile phones, has consequences for workers in the industry, in terms of excessive overtime, for example. Now, the sector is hit hard by the economic crisis and dwindling demand and again workers are bearing the consequences. makeITfair and GoodElectronics call upon the industry to adopt strategies that work, for workers.
Poor working conditions and environmental damage are rampant in the production of computers, mobile phones and other electronic products. Many factors contribute to this situation, including the complicated product chain, the high percentage of outsourcing, rapid product developments, lack of unions, as well as weak implementation of (inter)national labour law. Five years ago, electronics companies got together to develop a voluntary sector code. This initiative of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) may be laudable in it self, but stakeholders identify weaknesses in the EICC code and criticize its ineffective implementation. Structural involvement of workers and local stakeholders in the code’s development, implementation and independent verification has been lacking.
Should a common code of conduct for the electronics industry be developed? How to involve workers and other stakeholders? What makes a genuine multi stakeholder process? How to organise collaboration among supply chain actors? How can companies set-up effective in-factory workers training? These and other questions are at the centre of the discussion.
Among the participants are representatives of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), the Global e-sustainability Initiative (GeSI), and individual companies – brand names companies like Philips and HP, as well as suppliers such as Flextronics. Further, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Metalworkers’ Federation, the European Metalworkers’ Federation, trade unions and labour rights NGOs from production countries in the South as well as the North will participate