I thought I’d share this email from SumOfUs.org, a great online campaigning organisation in the spirit of Avaaz and 38 Degrees.
It’s basically another example of multinationals getting away with human rights violations through delegating responsibility for production (and therefore employer ethics) to sub-contractors in other countries.
Of course, the contracts won’t say ‘you must ban unions’, but the production (inc. labour) costs will be so cheap as for the employer at the top of the chain to understand that will probably be the case.
Apple will be able to pressure over its suppliers, whether through financial or competitive means – i.e. saying we’ll ditch you or we’ll give you more dosh to cover better working conditions. Is that going to happen? Not without pressure from the public. Reputational damage can be a good ally to industrial action and can be a crucial way of those outside of the workplace (and indeed country) exercising cross-border solidarity.
In short, sign and share the petition, please. It’s important.
That’s how one of Apple’s key suppliers, NXP, responded to 24 workers in the Philippines who were attempting to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement in May. It’s a disgusting attack on workers rights, and Apple has to stop it.
The iPhone 6 will reportedly contain technology from NXP, and so we have an opportunity now to move Apple to act upon its commitments to workers. The company wants buzz about new product features, not flaws. If thousands of us stand up now, Apple can be forced to demand that NXP reinstate the 24 workers.
NXP, which is reportedly supplying technology for Apple’s new iPhone 6, fired the 24 workers under the pretext that their failure to work on a number of public holidays amounted to an illegal strike.
But we suspect something much more insidious is happening. The workers have been protesting for months to get their jobs back. It appears that NXP now wants to pay them off to shut up and go away, basically acknowledging that they were wrongfully dismissed.
The NXP 24 don’t want to be silenced and trade their fundamental rights for corporate cash — and they shouldn’t have to. Apple claims to ensure that its suppliers treat workers with respect and dignity. Apple could weigh in to get the workers back their jobs now, but so far the Californian IT giant has done nothing to fix this serious issue.
The 24 fired workers are leading members of a trade union, the MWAP. For months now they have been without work and pay, but their spirits are kept high by the solidarity they receive from friends and supporters like you around the globe. NXP’s dismissal of all of the union leadership is an attack upon the rights of all workers to freely associate and organise.
Nobody wants the products they buy from Apple to be tainted by the abuse of workers in developing countries. What’s more, Apple says that it is serious about supplier responsibility. Now it’s time to put those words into action–to demand justice for the workers who were illegally fired.
It took years of sustained pressure from conscientious consumers and activists like you before Apple agreed to make serious changes to the way it treated the workers in its supply chain. Now the company must deliver on those promises.
Thanks for all that you do,
Jon, Eoin, Marie, Martin and the rest of us.
iPhone 6 supplier NXP ramps up intimidation and delaying tactics, IndustriALL Union, 16 July 2014
NXP sacks union leaders, Electronics Weekly, 16 July 2014