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Occupational Safety and Health in Asia-based Supplier Factories of Multinational Consumer Electronic Brand Firms: with special reference to China and Malaysia

Thapa, Sudeshna LU (2018) JAMM07 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
Outsourcing and contract manufacturing have developed as effective business strategies for electronics manufacturing services in the recent years. Most Consumer Electronic brand firms do not actually make the consumer products they sell but hire contract manufacturers, mostly in the developing world. Asia is currently the major production base of mobile phones for instance, with China and ASEAN accounting for 81.9% of the related products exported from Asia. Many of the major brand-name CE manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and HP have been facing a lot of scrutiny for the past few years owing to ongoing scandals about appalling working conditions in their Asian plants. Reportedly, workers in many of the CE supplier factories in many... (More)
Outsourcing and contract manufacturing have developed as effective business strategies for electronics manufacturing services in the recent years. Most Consumer Electronic brand firms do not actually make the consumer products they sell but hire contract manufacturers, mostly in the developing world. Asia is currently the major production base of mobile phones for instance, with China and ASEAN accounting for 81.9% of the related products exported from Asia. Many of the major brand-name CE manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and HP have been facing a lot of scrutiny for the past few years owing to ongoing scandals about appalling working conditions in their Asian plants. Reportedly, workers in many of the CE supplier factories in many Asian countries are plagued by substandard working conditions that include but are not limited to excessive working hours; health and safety risks including chemical poisonings and deaths; and weak or suppressed trade unions and collective bargaining. Occupational Safety and Health, in particular, is an area of major concern. This thesis aims to the review the international legal framework governing Occupational Safety and Health(OSH) applicable to a) governments of host countries where CE supplier factories are situated and b) to the CE brand firms as business enterprises. The thesis further aims to analyse the current situation of OSH in some of the supplier factories of major brand firms in China and Malaysia and identify the key issues with regard to the legal system governing workers’ right to OSH, and its implementation, in the CE sector. Major findings of the thesis include: the self-regulatory private standards and codes of conduct employed by most brand firms to ensure the protection of labour rights and OSH standards in their supplier factories are not backed by effective monitoring and implementation mechanisms; while there is an extensive database on guidance to business enterprises and individual factories in relation to effective OSH management, there is lack of binding legal obligations for the violation of which, brand firms can be held liable; working conditions in many of China’s Supplier factories appear to be in direct violation of China’s international legal obligations and its national legal framework; Malaysia appears to be attractive to companies wishing to outsource labour due to its low-cost workforce, apparently low levels of unionisation and weak labour rights; migrant workers in the CE sector in Malaysia are at particular risk of jeopardy to physical and mental health. (Less)
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author
Thapa, Sudeshna LU
supervisor
organization
course
JAMM07 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Labour Law, Occupational Safety and Health, Consumer Electronic Brand Firms
language
English
id
8966095
date added to LUP
2019-01-14 16:35:05
date last changed
2019-01-14 16:35:05
@misc{8966095,
  abstract     = {Outsourcing and contract manufacturing have developed as effective business strategies for electronics manufacturing services in the recent years. Most Consumer Electronic brand firms do not actually make the consumer products they sell but hire contract manufacturers, mostly in the developing world. Asia is currently the major production base of mobile phones for instance, with China and ASEAN accounting for 81.9% of the related products exported from Asia. Many of the major brand-name CE manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and HP have been facing a lot of scrutiny for the past few years owing to ongoing scandals about appalling working conditions in their Asian plants. Reportedly, workers in many of the CE supplier factories in many Asian countries are plagued by substandard working conditions that include but are not limited to excessive working hours; health and safety risks including chemical poisonings and deaths; and weak or suppressed trade unions and collective bargaining. Occupational Safety and Health, in particular, is an area of major concern. This thesis aims to the review the international legal framework governing Occupational Safety and Health(OSH) applicable to a) governments of host countries where CE supplier factories are situated and b) to the CE brand firms as business enterprises. The thesis further aims to analyse the current situation of OSH in some of the supplier factories of major brand firms in China and Malaysia and identify the key issues with regard to the legal system governing workers’ right to OSH, and its implementation, in the CE sector. Major findings of the thesis include: the self-regulatory private standards and codes of conduct employed by most brand firms to ensure the protection of labour rights and OSH standards in their supplier factories are not backed by effective monitoring and implementation mechanisms; while there is an extensive database on guidance to business enterprises and individual factories in relation to effective OSH management, there is lack of binding legal obligations for the violation of which, brand firms can be held liable; working conditions in many of China’s Supplier factories appear to be in direct violation of China’s international legal obligations and its national legal framework; Malaysia appears to be attractive to companies wishing to outsource labour due to its low-cost workforce, apparently low levels of unionisation and weak labour rights; migrant workers in the CE sector in Malaysia are at particular risk of jeopardy to physical and mental health.},
  author       = {Thapa, Sudeshna},
  keyword      = {Labour Law,Occupational Safety and Health,Consumer Electronic Brand Firms},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Occupational Safety and Health in Asia-based Supplier Factories of Multinational Consumer Electronic Brand Firms: with special reference to China and Malaysia},
  year         = {2018},
}