Artist’s impression of discussion on freedom of association at
GoodElectronics and makeITfair Round Table with the electronics
industry, 9-10 May, Amsterdam. By Maarten Wolterink.
FLA has published a report outlining ongoing efforts by Apple's largest supplier, Foxconn, to implement the 15-month action plan developed following FLA's original investigation of three facilities in early 2012. Since FLA's last verification in July 2012, FLA writes that its assessors have found that significant progress had been made to reduce hours of work, and that worker representation in union committees had increased.
Foxconn has reportedly relaxed its strict rules on factory workers' conduct during working hours, particularly abolishing the need to keep chatter among colleagues at a minimum while working. This loosening of its stance came after two employees committed suicides in its Zhengzhou factory late last month. The Chinese iPhone manufacturer called on factory administrators to abolish its "mute mode" policy and be more polite to workers.
The Goma-based Pole Institute has issued a new paper regarding the sourcing of conflict metals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pole describes how the international efforts to institute a regulatory system for the mining sector in eastern DRC are progressing at a very slow pace. The various initiatives involved are all maturing, but only very slowly cohering into a single policy which makes sense on the ground. This is why it’s important to analyse the impact of the initiatives as they stand. Well conceived and implemented they could contribute to peace building by showing that lucrative business opportunities need not fuel conflict. Badly conceived and implemented they could cause new tensions and conflicts.
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.
China Labor Watch reports about two new suicide cases at a Foxconn production production site in Zhengzhou, China. On April 24 and 27, two workers reportedly jumped to their deaths, jumping from an apartment building and a dormitory. Information about the motivation for these dramatic actions is not yet available.