September 17, 2014 -- Since its founding 10 years ago, one of the core principles of the EICC has been to combat trafficked and forced labor in the electronics industry supply chain. As part of our efforts to deliver on this policy through increased knowledge and continuous improvement, the EICC welcomes the availability of new research on forced labor in electronics manufacturing. As part of our efforts to deliver on this policy through increased knowledge and continuous improvement, the EICC welcomes the availability of new research on forced labor in electronics manufacturing, including today’s report on forced labor in electronics manufacturing in Malaysia authored by Verité.
“The EICC has been committed to combating forced labor in the electronics industry supply chain from our earliest days, from setting standards to raising awareness through training. In the lead-up to today’s report, the EICC engaged with Verité on their research and we look forward using the report’s findings as a valuable tool to identify and find solutions on this important issue,” said Rob Lederer, Executive Director of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition.
The EICC Code of Conduct prohibits the use of trafficked and forced labor. In 2014, as part of our Code review process, we have strengthened our standard. The EICC Code of Conduct v. 5.0 will go into effect January 1, 2015, and the revised provision on trafficked and forced labor will read as follows:
A1. Freely Chosen Employment Forced, bonded (including debt bondage) or indentured labor, involuntary prison labor, slavery or trafficking of persons shall not to be used. This includes transporting, harboring, recruiting, transferring or receiving persons by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction or fraud for labor or services. There shall be no unreasonable restrictions on workers’ freedom of movement in the facility in addition to unreasonable restrictions on entering or exiting company-provided facilities. As part of the hiring process, workers must be provided with a written employment agreement in their native language that contains a description of terms and conditions of employment prior to the worker departing from his or her country of origin. All work must be voluntary and workers shall be free to leave work at any time or terminate their employment. Employers and agents may not hold or otherwise destroy, conceal, confiscate or deny access by employees to employees’ identity or immigration documents, such as government-issued identification, passports or work permits, unless the holding of work permits is required by law. Workers shall not be required to pay employers or agents recruitment fees or other aggregate fees in excess of one month’s salary. All fees charged to workers must be disclosed and fees in excess of one month’s salary must be returned to the worker.
As a coalition we've worked hard to deliver on this policy commitment. Our key activities include:
- Supporting our members to comply with our Code of Conduct through accountability and assessment tools.
- Raising member and supplier awareness through in-person and online trainings.
- Developing a specialized audit for labor agencies, including sections on trafficked and forced labor.
- Providing risk assessment tools to member companies to assess and audit labor agencies that are amongst their top suppliers.
- Formed an EICC taskforce against trafficked and forced labor to address further actions that we can take as an industry to effectively combat trafficked and forced labor in electronics industry supply chains.
- Facilitated dialogue on trafficked and forced labor at EICC meetings and conferences between industry, government and civil society groups in the U.S., China and (autumn 2014) Malaysia.
As we continue to improve our efforts to combat trafficked and forced labor in the electronics industry supply chain, we welcome research and analysis that helps companies better understand the challenges and we look forward to continuing to work with Verité and other partners to respect workers' rights throughout electronics industry supply chains.
Rob Lederer, Executive Director
Responsible Business Alliance