The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition or EICC has made the eradication of forced labor a high priority, particularly by implementing its revised Code of Conduct that bolsters the protection of workers.
The EICC is a nonprofit coalition of more than a hundred leading electronics company dedicated to supply chain responsibility. Some of its members include Apple, Inc., IBM Corporation, Intel Corporation, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics, and Sony Corporation among others.
One of the new provisions of the Code includes the banning of all recruitment fees paid by workers. Accordingly, excessive recruitment fees are another major factor that can lead to forced labor, particularly by trapping workers in debt. Thus, the EICC has decided to completely prohibit labor brokers or employment agencies from collecting fees associated with recruitment or job placement.
The language in the revised Code specifically states: “Workers shall not be required to pay employers’ or agents’ recruitment fees or other related fees for their employment. If any such fees are found to have been paid by workers, such fees shall be repaid to the worker.”
“The electronics industry has been leading the way in the fight against forced labor in global supply chains,” said Rob Lederer, executive director at EICC. “The support of our membership to further strengthen the EICC Code of Conduct and ban recruitment fees placed on workers demonstrates the industry’s commitment to combat forced labor worldwide.”
Other provisions in the Code include the prohibiting the holding of passports and other key worker documents, as well as unreasonable restrictions on movement and access to basic rights. The Code also requires agencies or companies to provide workers with a written employment agreement in their native language prior to departing from their country of origin.
Every three years, the Code goes through an extensive revision and iteration process in order to ensure that EICC and its member companies are able to address emerging issues in the supply chain while also maintaining their alignment with international norms.
The member companies of EICC have a combined annual revenue of around $3 trillion and collective workforce of about 5.5 million people.