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NGOs Call On Nokia

Sep 29

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29/09/2010 11:52  RssIcon

Groups make appeal to phone giant on eve of human rights conference

Two NGOs have published an open letter to Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia on the eve of a human rights conference organised by the company. In it they call for a greater respect of human rights and labour laws by the multinational corporation.

The letter, according to its authors, is intended as a 'shot across the bow': a means of generating debate and furthering dialogue with Nokia. Those authors are Good Electronics - an international network of NGOs, civil society and social activists who campaign for sustainability and human rightsin the global electronics supply chaine - and makeITfair, a  project that 'wants to let young people across Europe know about labour abuses and environmental problems in the electronics industry'. The two aim to air concerns to the electronics industry and hold it to account, thereby improving standards for people and planet.

The letter addresses a series of areas that Nokia should address in order to make substantial improvements to its record on human rights and environmental issues.

These include: the integration of human rights norms in its overall business operations; an extension of supply chain responsibility (including external and independent verification); incorporation of stronger language into the company's Labour Conditions Standard document in order to give more robust protections to workers' freedom of association and collective bargaining rights; the introduction of a maximum working week of 40 hours for its workers; and provisions to ensure that third party agencies who contract workers comply with all of Nokia's Corporate and Social Responsibility policies.

Further suggestions include taking a stand against precarious work by a committment to converting temporary contracts into regular ones where possible and actively standing up for workers who are threatened and intimidated for union activity..

The letter later mentions operations in specific geographical areas of concern. One is a request to the company to reconsider its approach regarding conflict minerals in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo. Others include a strong criticism of labour practices in Nokia's so-called Special Economic Zone at Sriperumbudur and the unfair dismissal of temporary workers in Mexo, where over 2,000 employees were coaxed into agreeing to "voluntary redundancies" under threat of being blacklisted for future work.

While aspects of the letter may come across as somewhat accusatory, the general tone is not one of outright condemnation. Rather, the authors hope for "continued dialogue" with Nokia.


Read more at on the Good electronics website




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