An 18-month investigation conducted by Transparentem unearthed serious abuses at five apparel factories in Malaysia – hundreds of migrant workers had paid illegal recruitment fees that sometimes exceeded a year’s pay, while four of the factories retained the workers’ passports. The findings were presented to 23 western companies, fifteen of whom agreed to help remediate the five factories by defining specific resolutions. In addition, the American Apparel and Footwear Association – which includes Nike, Gap, Ralph Lauren and 120 other companies – announced a new policy on “responsible recruitment” that requires “supply chain partners” to make sure no workers pay recruitment fees and “workers retain control of their travel documents and have full freedom of movement”.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
Invisible coercion through withheld wages, lack of employment contracts, and discrimination of migrant workers is widespread in China's construction sector. Wage arrears protests have been booming in the months leading up to the New Year on 16 February. Far from every protest gets violent, but when they do, losses are bigger than just the annual pay.
Forced labour among ordinary workers on China’s ordinary labour market receives vanishing little attention from the inter¬national community.
Two of the world’s leading electronics brands, are facing allegations that workers in their supply chains are being duped, exploited and underpaid in Malaysia, after a Guardian investigation found that Nepalese migrant workers making goods for the global electronics brands claimed to be trapped and exploited. Both Samsung and Panasonic have said they are opening investigations into the conduct of their suppliers following the claims.
A new report titled ‘Logging Concessions Enable Illegal Logging Crisis in the Peruvian Amazon’ has found that the Peruvian Forest Law is being exploited for illegal purposes. Loggers are required to declare which individual, GPS-referenced trees will be cut in a one or five year period. As a result many have invented the existence of trees, they then log in other areas and claim trees came from inside their concessions and use the paperwork from these concessions to “prove” it. In over half the cases violations have related to CITES-listed cedar species. Nearly 70% of the concessions inspected have been suspected of “major violations”. This follows what was supposed to be a strengthening of the law through a trade agreement between Peru and the United States in 2009. The report’s authors say the root of the problem is that the authorities only check the regulatory documents in transport or at port arrival well after the logging has taken place. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has previously been highly critical of Peruvian logging practices highlighting the abuse of migrant workers and strategies designed to confuse the authorities in order to cover up illegal logging.
A documentary to be broadcast in Sweden tonight will allege that for the past two years agents working for forestry companies SCA and Holmen have been recruiting migrant workers from Cameroon to plant trees. According to the investigation workers are paid wages far below those promised by the agents and have to pay hefty sign-on fees. After the planting season many of the workers remain in Sweden as undocumented immigrants.