Photo: Against the Grain Photography

Last month, over 70 students from the UK and Ireland congregated in Manchester for People & Planet’s annual Summer Training event – Power Shift: Training for Change. Supported by the Good Electronics Network, a day was dedicated to developing students’ understanding of labour rights issues in the global electronics industry and equipping them with the skills to take action.

Photo: Against the Grain Photography

This was in pursuit of People & Planet’s Sweatshop Free campaign, which is calling for public sector institutions to affiliate to Electronics Watch – an independent labour monitoring organisation for electronics factories – as well as, from this year, pushing for reform of the mining sector within electronics supply chains.

At the event, students from the People & Planet network developed a campaign timeline for this year, including strategic moments for solidarity action, awareness raising activities and opportunities for lobbying. Off the back of this, they’re now making preparations to build campaigns on university campuses when the new academic year starts in September. From Kent to Sheffield and from Cardiff to Manchester, students are putting renewed pressure on their universities to affiliate to Electronics Watch. So far 8 universities in England and Wales have affiliated to Electronics Watch, as well as all 44 univerisities and colleges in Scotland – through their purchasing consortium APUC.

With over a dozen campaigns across the UK and Ireland calling for universities to affiliate to Electronics Watch this year, the higher education sector could really lead the way on reforming supply chains and improving labour rights across the globe.

Find out more about People & Planet’s Sweatshop Free campaign.