Archive for 8.5 Workers in Intensive Energy Industries

Facts and Figures- up to date and regularly updated information on the construction sector including workforce, type of workers, wages, contracts, etc

8.5 Workers in Intensive Energy Industries, 8.5.3 Construction

China as Chimney of the World: The Fossil Capital Hypothesis

What has caused the early 21st-century emissions explosion in China? Driving a global explosion, it appears to stand in some relation to processes of globalization, but these links have mostly remained unexplored. This article revisits some established frameworks for understanding the connection between globalization and environmental degradation and argues that they are insufficient for explaining the Chinese explosion. A new hypothesis is outlined, called “the fossil capital hypothesis.” It proposes that globally mobile capital will tend to relocate production to countries with cheap and disciplined labor, but only through the accelerated consumption of fossil energy. Via three specified “effects,” the inflow of global capital will therefore set off massive increases in CO2 emissions. The hypothesis is applied in a brief analysis of developments in China between 2001 and 2008, and in other Asian countries after the Chinese strike wave in 2010.

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5 Workers in Intensive Energy Industries, 8.5.1 General

No Choice But to Fight: A Documentation of Chinese Battery Women Workers’ Struggle for Health and Dignity

A new book on Chinese workers’ rights, published by Globalization Monitor with an introduction by Agnes Jongerius, President of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation FNV.“From exploited victims of globalisation to well-organised campaigners for compensation and safe working conditions, the journey of these employees at a multinational company is nothing short of inspiring. It takes the reader through China’s official complaints system, the Bureau of Letters and Calls, to disciplined picket lines that briefly brought production at a major global battery factory to a halt. It is a story of struggle, transformation and hope. Emerging from workshops thick with red clouds of poisonous cadmium oxide dust, come exhausted young women determined to change their fate and expose company disinformation on their deteriorating health. Despite official restrictions on organising and media access, these extraordinary workers demonstrate time and again the power of traditional trade union values: solidarity, determination and the importance of organised labour in protecting workers’ rights against a predatory system. At the end of the day, the Gold Peak workers’ story takes us back to basics. It is a timely reminder that ILO Conventions 87 and 98, on the rights to organise and to bargain collectively respectively, must be universally respected. I believe this book takes us a significant step closer to that goal.” – Agnes Jongerius.

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries

The Chinese Battery Industry: The Truth behind the Charge

Section I and II of this paper will provide a comprehensive overview of the battery industry. Firstly, background information will be provided on the major Chinese brands, as well as a synopsis of production methods and locations, for the various models of batteries in mainstream circulation. Secondly, industry standards of safety, including but not limited to, occupational disease, labor conditions, and workers’ rights will be critiqued, highlighting previous failures to protect workers in the industry, while introducing proposals to safe guard employees in the future. Thirdly, the environmental implications for the creation and disposal of batteries will be assessed, along with current regulations that have been proscribed by certain governments to combat potential threats that the battery industry poses to their respective populations. Fourthly, the future of the industry, specifically in lithium battery production, will be analyzed through different facets. Fifthly, the evolution of the manufacturers’ role in the increasingly global economy, will lend insight as to how companies can increasingly recognize workers’ rights and freedom of expression. Section III presents findings concerning the labor conditions of ten battery factories in Guangdong province. In nearly all of them, some forms of non-compliance with labor laws stipulations or outright infringement of the legitimate rights of employees were found. The conclusion will summarize the paper’s main findings while outlining proactive measures that are beneficial for workers and companies alike.

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries

The High Cost of Calling; Critical Issues in the Mobile Phone Industry

In today’s globalised world of instant communication, mobile phones are a nearly ubiquitous feature of everyday life in most developed and many developing countries. Ninety percent of the population of Western Europe now has access to a mobile phone, and mobile phone penetration in large Asian countries like China and India is rising exponentially. In 2006, mobile phone sales will reach a volume of 935 million handsets, representing a value of US $136 billion. This SOMO report covers the industry’s top five manufacturers of mobile phones, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson and LG, comparing the companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy with the results of SOMO-commissioned field research into the actual conditions at mobile phone factories in China, India, Thailand and the Philippines.

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries

Mobile Phone Production in China: A Follow-up Report on Two Suppliers in Guangdong

In September 2008, makeITfair published a report entitled Silenced to Deliver: Mobile phone manufacturing in China and the Philippines, in which four Chinese factories in Guangdong were examined. Problems discovered included health and safety issues, excessive working hours, low wages and involuntary overtime. Workers were punished with wage deductions if they made mistakes, even when the mistakes were due to the unacceptable working conditions offered by the employer. As a follow-up to this report, workers and management at two of these factories, as well as their customers, were interviewed again during the fall of 2009. This follow-up is based on interviews with 64 workers at two factories producing chargers and transformers for four of the market leader mobile phone companies of the world: Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and LG Electronics. The interviews were conducted during the latter half of 2009 by people linked to universities in mainland China and Hong Kong. They possess earlier experience in factory surveys and are specialised in social work, migrant workers and labour issues. They were selected due to their earlier experience and their independence from government and particular enterprises.

8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries

Report- “Clean up your Computer” Campaign

A study on Yonghong Electronics ,Shenzhen, China

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries

Report: High Tech, No Rights

One year after the launch of the “High Tech – No Rights?” campaign, Bread for All, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) publish a new study on working conditions in the factories where our computers are made. From the perspective of supply chain labor responsibility, the research team has been most interested in determining whether workers’ daily lives have improved. The researchers conducted independent surveys in seven factories in the cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Zhongshan in Guangdong Province, southern China. These factories belong to FSP Group, Primax Electronics, Lite-On Group, Tyco Electronics and Volex Group. The research team also asked the concerned brand companies (Hewlett Packard, Dell, Apple, Fujitsu Siemens and Acer) to respond to a questionnaire about social responsibility measures implemented in China between January 2007 and March 2008. The aim was to see how premium brands have ensured workers’ rights in their supplier factories.

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries

The Dark Side of Cyberspace

A new study reveals violations of workers’ rights by suppliers to Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Lenovo. The non-governmental organisations WEED (World Economy, Ecology, and Development – Berlin) and SACOM (Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour – Hong Kong) are today publishing the study “The Dark Side of Cyberspace – Inside the Sweatshops of China’s Hardware Production”. The study is based on 45 interviews conducted with employees of two suppliers of well-known computer companies. It paints an alarming picture of the working conditions in this industry. The non-governmental organisations WEED (World Economy, Ecology, and Development – Berlin) and SACOM (Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour – Hong Kong) are today publishing the study “The Dark Side of Cyberspace – Inside the Sweatshops of China’s Hardware Production”. The study is based on 45 interviews conducted with employees of two suppliers of well-known computer companies. It paints an alarming picture of the working conditions in this industry. In the cases of the investigated suppliers Compeq Technology (supplier of Dell, Lenovo, a.o.) and Excelsior Electronics (supplier of Fujitsu Siemens Computers, a.o.) there are massive violations of the national labour law, the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation, and the brand companies’ own codes of conduct. Before today’s publication, the brand companies were given the chance to react to the reproaches made by the study. Not one of the brand companies has so far announced concrete measures for the improvement of the working conditions”.WEED and SACOM demand from the brand companies that they assume responsibility for their supply chains.

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries

Report: Apple Owes Workers and Public a Response over the Poisonings

A strike of 2000 workers has unveiled massive poisoning cases at United Win, a subsidiary of Wintek Corporation and an Apple Computers contractor in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. While cancellation of an annual bonus was a primary reason for the strike, workers have explained that they also protested over the poisonings. In the aftermath of the strike, workers were able to receive the annual bonus, but the health concern remains. Since the middle of 2009, rumours had circulated around the factory that workers were being poisoned at United Win. Just one day after the strike, which erupted on January 15, 2010, the Suzhou Municipal Administration of Work Safety confirmed in a press conference that 47 workers from United Win had symptoms of hexane poisoning. The authorities also stated that all the workers concerned were hospitalized. From various media reports, the hexane-poisoned workers were all from Apple’s production line. N-hexane was used to clean the touch screen of i-Phones. The Apple Supplier Code of Conduct specifies that “suppliers must identify, evaluate, and control worker exposure to hazardous chemical, biological, and physical agents.” Apparently, Apple has responsibility for the poisoning case as it failed to implement its code of conduct. It is disappointing that Apple has given no response to the public on this issue. In order to have a better understanding of the situation, SACOM conducted an investigation at United Win in March. Around 20 workers were interviewed, including some who are receiving treatment in hospital.

8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries