please take action - Prince Kumwamba human rights defender who has done reserch for makeITfair, and Georges Kapiamba, lawyer and human rights defender, have received several threats, including death threats, related to their human rights work since the evening of 3 April.
Several European Union countries have failed to turn the bloc's rules on electronic waste into national law and now face legal action from Brussels, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The Nairobi slum where 12-year-old Priscilla grew up abuts one of Africa's largest dumpsites. Now her blood is charged with lead, as electronic waste from the world over piles up unchecked.
makeITfair reveals: Electronics brands do nothing to improve conditions related to the metals they use.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's biggest miners' union launched a one-day national strike on Tuesday to protest against deaths in the country's mines, disrupting operations across the world's top producer of platinum and gold.
Many tin mines in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are controlled by armed groups. Some of the tin they mine ends up in circuit boards in our mobile phones, laptops and MP3 players.
Market research shows European youth wants companies to produce responsible.
Esther de Haan and Tim Steinweg, from Netherlands-based NGO SOMO, take issue with the story published in February about IT companies and metal extraction in Africa
A research focusing on electronic industry in Poland shows that improvements of working conditions are very much needed.
Campaigners are protesting at the opening of the ‘GreenIT’ conference at the CeBIT IT fair in Hannover. For Human Rights, Labour Rights and environmental protection in the global IT industry.
July 7, 2008 One year into its campaign, makeITfair receives promising commitments from the electronics industry. The campaign urges companies to translate these commitments into concrete actions.
New report reveals severe violations of workers’ rights in Asian mobile phone factories
Thursday November 13, 2008, a meeting took place in the ongoing negotiations between labour union EEALU, representatives of Hoya Glass Disk (Thailand) and officials of the Thai Ministry of Labour in Lamphun province. This time with a very positive result: an agreement was signed between the labour union and the company.
This week, the electronics industry shows its commitment to address issues with the mining of their metals, and takes makeITfair’s recommendations one step forward. On November 19th, the electronics industry will organize a ‘Stakeholder Engagement Session’ in Washington D.C.
With our specially-designed webquest, makeITfair challenges students to start their own mobile phone shop.
makeITfair is entering a new exciting phase in Finland; many activities from April until autumn
The makeITfair Youth Round Table will be held from 13-15 March 2009 in Amsterdam (the Netherlands).
makeITfair calls for ‘green’ IT products at CeBIT, the annual trade show for information and telecommunications technology
In 2007, makeITfair asked the companies to take responsibility for their supply chain and will continue to provide regular updates on the initiatives and actions taken by the electronics companies
The latest makeITfair report 'Playing with Labour Rights' looks into the working conditions at portable music players and mp3 players manufacturing in China.
Nokia is encouraged to lead the way in improving the conditions in its supply chain in a new campaign launched today by three Finnish organisations.
makeITfair & GoodElectronics round table for the electronics industry and civil society organisations
Improving Labour Standards in the Global Electronics Industry - Defining Strategies that Work
On the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on May 17, makeITfair hands over thousands of signatories which will put pressure on mobile phone companies across Europe to pay greater attention to fair labour standards.
On April 16th and 17th, the Benchmarks Foundation and SOMO organised a meeting in Polokwane, South Africa, where communities around the large platinum mines of Anglo Platinum and others formulated their common demand; “free, prior and informed consent in a fair process and sharing benefits where there is agreement”.
New makeITfair report: Labour conditions still miserable
The report of the makeITfair and GoodElectronics may 2009 Round Table is now available on-line.
In November 2008 FinnWatch visited Indonesia's tin mining centre, Bangka Island, to update the makeITfair report (2007) on social and environmental consequences of tin mining for consumer electronics. FinnWatch witnessed severe environmental destruction, unregulated mining operations and unacceptable working conditions of artisanal miners.
makeITfair releases a new report today that shows that the efforts of European mobile network operators, such as Vodafone and T-Mobile, to improve the social and environmental conditions in the mobile phone supply chain still leaves a lot to desire.
Nokia published a response to makeITfair in June on its website.
Nokia is asked to become the trailblazer in developing more ethical mobile phones by the Finnish makeITfair campaign. The petition has over 5,000 signatures already, but there is still time to add yours before it is handed over to Nokia on 13 November.
makeITfair hands over signatures to mobile phone companies
When centrally controlled economic systems collapsed and the markets of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) opened up to foreign capital, most of the world’s biggest electronics companies started to invest in the region. How did this affect workers in the CEE? And how can we make the companies act responsibly towards their workers?
One of every two mobile phones is manufactured in China. In 2008, makeITfair published a report about poor working conditions at factories that mobile phone companies source from. One year later, two of the factories (supplying chargers to Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and LG) have been re-examined. Since makeITfair’s first report was released, important improvements have been experienced by workers, improvements such as the provision of adequate protection gear and health and safety training. However, important issues remain, including excessive working hours and medical tests before hiring.
New photo booklet gives a strong impression on communities affected by platinum and palladium mining.
Want to know more about the consequences of the mobile phone boom in India and discover what you can do? Watch this documentary.
While Apple launches its 4th generation iPhones, labour activists worldwide are protesting today and calling for the commemoration of the 10 workers who committed suicide at the Foxconn factory in Shenzen producing iPhones and other electronic products. At the same time, the European campaign makeITfair is launching a postcard action to urge mobile phone operators like T-Mobile and Vodafone to offer fair and green phones to their customers. They currently offer phones that are manufactured under exploitative working conditions. The only choice available to consumers is a phone made by workers who are exploited by companies such as Foxconn.
At the occasion of the Nokia human rights summit on 29 and 30 September 2010 in Helsinki, the GoodElectronics Network and makeITfair are publishing an Open Letter to Nokia. Nokia specifically puts ‘living wage’ and ‘special economic zones’ on the agenda. GoodElectronics and makeITfair agree these are important topics; but feel that these should be looked at in connection with other social and economic issues. The letter suggests a number of important issues for Nokia to take action on.
Today, Hong Kong labour rights organisation Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) is releasing an investigative report, entitled ‘Workers as Machines; Military Management in Foxconn’.
Electronic companies must increase efforts to support conflict free mineral trade in Eastern DRC
Today, makeITfair campaigners in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden will hand over thousands of signatures to mobile phone network operators such as KPN, T-Mobile, Tele2 and Vodafone to show that there is a consumer demand for mobile phones that are fair for people everywhere - a demand that network operators have ignored in the past.
Students in Europe are highly critical of the purchasing policies of universities and universities of applied sciences. They are demanding that ICT is purchased sustainably and fairly by the institutions at which they are studying, and are campaigning against the poor working conditions in the electronics industry in low-wage countries. On 10 December, students from all parts of the Netherlands came together at the University of Utrecht, together with inspiratrice Gerry and StoereVrouwen, to give a 'Shake-up call' to higher education in the Netherlands.
Foxconn is nominated for the 2011 Public Eye Award for the worst company. You can all cast your vote to express your concerns over Foxconn's controversial business practices.
In Malaysia a labour dispute has erupted over the treatment of Burmese migrant workers working for Japanese electronics company Asahi Kosei. In support of the Burmese workers threatened with dismissal and deportation, Malaysian and international human rights groups issued a public statement targeting Asahi Kosei. In response to this public statement, Asahi is now demanding compensation and a public apology from Mr Hector, one of the initiators of the campaign, and is threatening with legal steps.
Significant improvements, such as higher wages, decreased number of student interns and discontinuance of Hepatitis B tests on job applicants have taken place after makeITfair published a report in 2009 about poor working conditions at four Chinese supplier factories of game consoles and MP3 players. The four factories (supplying to Apple, Microsoft, Motorola, Philips and Sony) have been recently re-examined by makeITfair. Some important issues remain however: the wage increases are still insufficient: overtime remains significantly high and lack of awareness of trade unions prevails.
Hear ye! Hear ye! makeITfair will be organizing the international Action day on May 7th 2011.
A visit to Foxconn’s factories - a report from the field
While the British newspapers were full of Royal wedding news, Apple was found on the front page of The Observer/Guardian due to its controversial working conditions discovered in factories such as Foxconn, where iPhones and iPads are produced.
New report -International Action Day 7 May –Apple - Call for sustainable IT
SACOM strongly condemns Foxconn for its negligence in maintaining work safety in the factory.
On May 26th, SOMO, on behalf of the makeITfair campaign, and Judith Sargentini, Member of European Parliament for the Greens/European Free Alliance, are organising a roundtable on the issue of conflict minerals from the DRC.
Video with new interviews and footage of Foxconn production site China’s Chengdu
Suicides cluster at electronics giant in China: Foxconn - An appalling showcase for the global electronics sector
Over the past months a wave of suicides has occurred at the Foxconn plant of Longhua in southern China. 12 employees all between 18 and 24 years old have attempted to commit suicide; reportedly 10 workers have died, two have survived but suffer injuries. Foxconn is a Taiwanese electronics giant, manufacturing for all major global electronics brands. Foxconn produces computers, TVs, game computers, MP3-players, mobile phones and smart phones, including the Apple iPhone and the Nintendo Wii. In the following statement, GoodElectronics and makeITfair are urgently calling upon Foxconn and its customers to investigate the matter and to address the root causes of this situation. If you are also worried about this situation, please sign the statement (before 8 June 2010) and contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time to bite into a fair Apple. This was the slogan of the international Action Day of makeITfair and GoodElectronics, which was held on 7 May. The global demand for iPhones and iPads is linked to problematic working conditions in factories in China. This was also shown from the report by labour rights organisation SACOM of Hong Kong, which was published on the same day. On the Action Day, consumers, activists and civil society organisations worldwide called on Apple to take the lead in the fair production of electronics. Playful protests were held, from Guadalajara to Berlin, Budapest, Helsinki, Oslo, Taipei and Hong Kong.
GoodElectronics and makeITfair have developed a set of principles and guidelines for innovative worker trainings focused on workers' empowerment.These principles and guidelines are the outcome of the work conference ‘Workers’ empowerment through training Complementary roles of trade unions, NGOs and Companies’ organised by GoodElectronics, makeITfair, Bread for All, SOMO and the Fair Trade Center on 25-26 November 2010, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
On May 26th, SOMO, on behalf of the makeITfair campaign, and Judith Sargentini, Member of European Parliament for the Greens/European Free Alliance, organized a roundtable on the issue of conflict minerals from the DRC. The aim of this roundtable was to bring together experts and stakeholders from the European Parliament, the European Commission, international civil society and business, as well as a number of representatives from the civil society of the DRC, to share input with regard to new EU regulations concerning the issue of conflict minerals.
Many of you have already responded to petition and call on Hitachi, who claims to source from Asahi Kosei, an electronic producing company in Malaysia. Asahi Kosei is suing Charles Hector in order to stop him from writing about the threats to the 31 migrant workers employed by Asahei Kosei, who complained about disproportional wage deductions and lack of sick leave.
Precarious jobs and insufficient wages are common in the mobile phone industry in India. These are the findings of a new report launched today by the makeITfair campaign.
Report shows workers rights violations are ongoing in the production of iPhones in China
Europe must seize the chance to stop its e-waste from triggering human rights abuses and environmental damage globally, said human rights and environmental NGOs in an open letter sent to European Environment Ministers today.
Digital camera companies in Vietnam risk wildcat strikes due to poor social dialogue in their factories
MakeITfair’s report “Out of focus” on digital camera companies in Vietnam reveals that the major issue faced by workers is the lack of freedom of association and collective bargaining power. Although the Vietnamese labour law only permits one legal trade union, without taking proactive steps, the electronics companies in Vietnam risk wildcat strikes.
New makeITfair report stresses problems on waste of electronic products
On the eve of international Human Rights Day (10 December), makeITfair’s new report 'Unheard Voices' reveals how local communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are barely consulted by copper and cobalt mining companies that are taking their land or digging next to their houses. These minerals are being mined in part to satisfy the global demand for the latest high tech mobile phones and computers produced by the electronics industry.
At the end of January, within sight of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace will once again confer the Public Eye Awards for the worst cases of contempt for the environment and human rights.
Apple has joined the FLA as the first technology company among a number of garment companies. Is this is a genuine effort by Apple to clean up labour abuses in its supply chain, or merely a way of proving its credentials without actually delivering? For GoodElectronics and makeITfair it is too early to tell. The FLA obligation is to become compliant within the next two years. GoodElectronics and makeITfair will be watching closely to see whether FLA membership means Apple takes action on key problems within its supply chain.
Last week, The New York Times published articles on the harsh working conditions at Apple suppliers. The findings of the NYT journalists confirm the investigations done by makeITfair and SACOM. This is not extraordinary as Apple’s supplier responsibility reports, in many cases report the same abuses. What is, however, interesting are the revealing remarks of some insiders which underline the relevancy of the demands of the 2011 “Time to bite into a fair Apple” campaign.
"Workers’ rights in the global electronics sector" - GoodElectronics and makeITfair organise a Round Table bringing together representatives of the electronics industry and civil society organisations, including trade unions, from around the globe. The meeting will take place on 9 + 10 May, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
GoodElectronics, makeITfair, IMF declare FLA investigation at Apple supplier Foxconn to be a PR stunt
On the occasion of Apple’s 2012 annual shareholders’ meeting GoodElectronics, makeITfair, and International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF) share their concerns with Apple shareholders regarding persisting labour rights violations at Apple’s suppliers in China, as well as in India and other countries. GoodElectronics, makeITfair and the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) are among a growing group of concerned civil society organisations calling upon Apple to improve its act. Apple has recently joined the Fair Labor Association (FLA), but this seems to be a mere PR stunt.
GoodElectronics and makeITfair statement -- The FLA report ‘Independent investigation of Apple’s supplier Foxconn’ confirms abusive labour conditions as have been reported over the past years by local and international labour groups. GoodElectronics and makeITfair welcome the FLA efforts but also point out serious flaws in the root cause analysis and the proposed solutions. Since Apple joined FLA in January 2012, makeITfair and GoodElectronics have issued a number of statements commenting upon the new developments.
Today, 31 May 2012, the Hong Kong based labour group Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) has released a report entitled 'Sweatshops are good for Apple and Foxconn, but not for workers'. SACOM responds to a remark by Terry Gou, CEO of Foxconn, that “There's nothing wrong with working hard, with blood and sweat, as long as no laws are broken.”
Hong Kong, 24 August 2012 - A report by the Fair Labour Association (FLA) shows that there are some policy changes at Foxconn but few improvements for workers. Read this news release from SACOM, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour.
6 September 2012 - Thousands of students in an east China city were forced to work at a Foxconn plant. Classes were suspended and the students were driven to the factory.
The study 'Noch Keine Fairen Handys' showed that mobile network operators were taking increasing responsibility for social and ecological problems in the mobile network sector and were taking measures to improve the situation. However, there is still a long way to go before achieving a sustainable sector with fair and sustainable mobile phones.
“What’s wrong with sweatshops?” sums up the attitude of Terry Gou Taiming, the Foxconn CEO. In April 2012, when Foxconn organised a trip to Taiwan for selected Mainland workers, Gou explained his views to the Taiwan media, saying "There's nothing wrong with working hard, with blood and sweat, as long as no laws are broken." Most of the workers are angry with Terry Gou’s statement. “Of course sweatshops are good for Terry Gou, but not us. Without our blood and sweat, how could Foxconn grow rapidly?” Lin Yong, a male worker from Guanlan campus retorted.
Whenever there are new products launched by Apple, consumers are thrilled. All over the world they queue up outside Apple stores in order to have their beloved products immediately. At the same time, workers who are producing iPhones are queuing up for the company bus and lining up to swipe their staff card at Foxconn, but without similar excitement. When the peak season comes, they are tied to the production lines with just 1 day off in 13 working days, or no rest day at all in a month, all to cope with the public demand for the new Apple products. It is sad to say that to some extent, workers also yearn for the peak season because their base pay is insufficient to meet their basic needs, especially for those who have to support their dependents.
Foxconn has shut its factory in Taiyuan (79,000 workers) for some days because a riot broke out last night reportedly over guards beating up a worker. As many as 2,000 workers were involved in the riot that drew 5,000 police officers to the site that allegedly is making parts for Apple's iPhones 5 and hardware for other companies.
In 2009 Fair Trade Center, makeITfair partner in Sweden, reported on corporate responsibility among Swedish mobile network operators. The organisation now has published an update report examining how the operators have dealt with the shortcomings identified in the previous evaluation and also examines the new challenges that have emerged since.
Report of the May 2012 makeITfair and GoodElectronics Round Table on workers’ rights in the global electronics sector
Electronics companies and civil society organisations find common ground in UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights may form the common ground between electronics companies and civil society organisations in addressing labour issues such as the excessive use of temporary labour. This is an important outcome of the Round Table on worker’s rights in the global electronics sector organised by GoodElectronics and makeITfair in May 2012 in Amsterdam.
Mobile responsibility? A look at the human rights and sustainability practices of Finnish mobile network operators DNA, Elisa and TeliaSonera
In 2009, Finnwatch and its partners in the makeITfair project published a comparative study looking at the responsibility of Finnish and other European mobile network operators. The results showed that there was a huge need for improvements along the entire production chain and that responsible mobile devices were still a long way off. The current report looks at how the responsibility practices of the three largest Finnish operators – DNA, Elisa and TeliaSonera – have changed over the past years. Between them, they provide 98 percent of Finnish mobile subscriptions. The companies have progressed in this regard compared to the 2009 report. Still, many problems and challenges remain, as even the best responsibility code is not effective unless it is adhered to.
Last week the Singapore-based NGO Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) submitted a complaint with the Japanese National Contact Point for the OECD about abuse of migrant Chinese workers at a Panasonic plant in Singapore referring to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Guidelines are far-reaching recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in areas such as employment and industrial relations, human rights, environment, information disclosure, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation.
Wages too low to support a family, circumvention of overtime payments violating international standards, 12-hour shifts and temporary agency workers exceeding the number of permanent workers in times of peak production. Many of the labour issues well-known from factories in South-east Asia are also found in Hungary. This is the main conclusion from the latest makeITfair report “The Flex Syndrome” which examines labour conditions at Samsung, Nokia, Flextronics and Foxconn. The report shows that the flexibility provided by law heavily draws on Hungarian production workers.
Migrant workers in Malaysia’s electronics industry are heavily indebted by the time they start working because of extortionate fees of recruitment agencies. Migrant workers are paid less, sometimes even only half, of what they were promised by the agencies that recruited them, and deductions are made from wages without proper explanation. Workers will undergo HIV testing as part of medical screening and women workers have to have mandatory pregnancy tests and are sent back home if they get pregnant. Contracts, if received at all, are often in a language not understood by the migrant workers, and migrants regularly work up to 72 hour per week.
After makeITfair research on the corporate responsibility of mobile network operators in Sweden, Germany and Finland, there is now also a report on the conduct of Hungarian mobile network operators as far as human rights and sustainability practices are concerned.
In its code of conduct, Apple claims that it requires its suppliers to uphold its workers’ basic human rights as understood by the international community, and to treat them with dignity and respect.
87 civil society organisations from Malyasia and abroad are calling on Renesas Semiconductor (formerly NEC Semiconductors Malaysia) to stop obstructing or delaying, and immediately accord recognition to the union.
The management of Electrolux Thailand has violated the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining of the workers of the Electrolux Rayong plant, according to Swedwatch.
Samsung admits the tin in its products cause environmental damage following Friends of the Earth campaign
The world's best-selling smartphone brand, Samsung, has committed to urgent action to tackle the problem following pressure from Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Island) and from more than 15,000 individuals, who signed the petition of the environment charity.
A recent report conducted by a group of scholars and students from China and Hong Kong reveals that the high enrolment rate of Foxconn union is just window-dressing. The world's biggest factory empire has never realized its commitment to promote democratic industrial relation and to fulfill its corporate social responsibility. In addition, according to the latest news report from a Chinese newspaper, the promised union elections are in limbo. SACOM urges Foxconn to push forward the democratization of trade union as soon as possible.
Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) is not respecting workers' rights in India. Cividep India and the GoodElectronics Network tried to engage with NSN but found the company unresponsive. This summer, talks between the workers' union and NSN factory management failed. When workers and union representatives staged a protest in front of the NSN factory gate in Oragadam, Sriperumbudur, more then 70 people were arrested. According to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the NSN management took a hardline position, refusing to recognise and engage with the representatives of the Nokia Siemens Networks Workers Union.
The large majority of European companies do not conduct due diligence to ensure that their products are free from ‘conflict minerals’. They therefore risk being linked to violent conflict and grave human rights abuses. International standards have clearly outlined the responsibility of companies to conduct such due diligence and the European Commission is currently developing an initiative on responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict affected and high-risk areas. “But unless required by law, most companies do not address this issue at all”, says Tim Steinweg of the Center of Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO).
Thousands of students from the Xi’an Institute of Technology have been participating in an internship programme, as it is officially called, at Foxconn. The students do not have much choice, however, as they are told that they will not receive six essential course credits if they do not complete this internship. which effectively means they will not be able to graduate. Moreover, the work that they are being given in no way matches their study programme or their competence levels. Foxconn meanwhile claims that the students working on the Sony PlayStation 4 are doing so on an entirely voluntary basis and that they are free to stop at any moment. It is not only in China that these human rights abuses occur; makeITfair has encountered similar forced labour with students in Thailand.
In February 2012, Apple was the first electronics company to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a multi-stakeholder initiative (MSI) created in the clothing sector. After eighteen months, FLA has not convinced civil society organisations that are striving for better working conditions in the electronics production of its credibility. "FLA operates more as an industry organisation than as a multi-stakeholder initiative," says Lynda Yanz of the Canadian Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), which until recently held a seat on the FLA board. Better things are expected from another MSI, the electronics programme created by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).