Complaint filed against Swedish appliances brand Electrolux for violating OECD guidelines

Today, the Swedish NGO Swedwatch has filed a complaint with the Swedish NCP, requesting the NCP to investigate whether or not Electrolux AB complies with the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises. Swedwatch argues that through its actions Electrolux Thailand has violated the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining of workers at the Electrolux Rayong plant in Thailand. The complaint is based on reports by GoodElectronics Thailand.

Complaint filed against Swedish appliances brand Electrolux for violating OECD guidelines

Click here for full Swedwatch complaint.

In the filed complaint Swedwatch argues that through its actions 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. These actions include the removal and immediate suspension of the chairperson of the local trade union; the encircling of protesting workers with barricades and preventing them from leaving the factory site; taking legal steps against the suspended members of the local trade union with the aim of terminating their employment; and terminating all workers who participated in protests. According to Swedwatch these actions constitute violations of the OECD Guidelines, in particular of chapter II (general policies), chapter IV (human rights) and chapter V (employment and industrial relations).

 

Report by GoodElectronics Thailand

The complaint filed by Swedwatch is in part based on a report by GoodElectronics Thailand, a network of labour rights groups in Thailand that aim to improve labour conditions in the Thai electronics industry.

The report by GoodElectronics Thailand consists of interviews conducted with employees at the Rayong factory. In its report GoodElectronics Thailand describes how the Electrolux Thailand management has unilaterally announced changes in the workers’ wages without negotiating an agreement with the employees’ representatives. Management called in all line leaders for one-on-one meetings, ordered them not to get involved in union activities and told them to ensure their subordinates would not get involved either. Management furthermore unfairly dismissed the union president without valid reasons, which provoked workers to carry out a brief work stoppage. To this management responded by unlawfully detaining a group of workers at the company lawn, denying them food and water for the period they were held. The group included two pregnant women employees. According to the GoodElectronics report, this series of actions culminated in the unfair dismissal of 129 workers. According to Electrolux 98 employees were dismissed.

Meagre results

Since the detailed report by GoodElectronics Thailand, attempt of negotiations involving the local trade union, Swedish trade union IF Metall and Electrolux have taken place, but with very meagre results. First and foremost GoodElectronics Thailand is calling upon Electrolux to enter upon a process of collective bargaining in good faith.

GoodElectronics Thailand is a branch of the GoodElectronics Network. 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. The GoodElectronics Network is hosted by the Dutch research centre SOMO in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Swedwatch is part of the GoodElectronics Network, and part of the makeITfair project.


For more information

Previous news items on the GoodElectronicswebsite