Last week the Singapore-based NGO Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) submitted a complaint with the Japanese NCP about abuse of migrant Chinese workers at a Panasonic plant in Singapore referring to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
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.
The complaint by HOME speaks of a violation of Singapore’s Employment Agencies Act and the Private Employment Agencies Convention (C181) of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Japan has ratified this ILO convention. HOME alleges that the wages paid to Chinese migrant workers at a Panasonic plant in Singapore are below Singapore’s national standard of an employee in a similar occupation and are thereby barely enough to meet their own basic needs. Because of huge debts (which are caused by the high recruitment fees), workers are highly vulnerable to situations of forced labour. They are pressured to accept excessive overtime of up to 150 hours a month.
Although media pressure in August 2012 forced Panasonic to slightly increase wages, return the migrant workers’ passports and make contracts available in Chinese, HOME claims that these measures have had a limited impact on the workers’ rights and well-being.
At this moment the complainant is awaiting confirmation of receipt from the National Contact Point Japan where the complaint was filed.