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A Toxics-Free Future

Occupational Health

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-01-02/labour-act-2017-hailed-for-ensuring-workers-wellbeing.html

Jan 2, 2018

Kathmandu, Nepal

The recently endorsed Labour Act-2017, which requires employers to ensure a safe working environment for workers’ health and safety, has been applauded by the stakeholders.

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre published the CGFED/ IPEN response to Samsung's comments about the report released in December 2017 revealing working conditions in Samsung manufacturing facilities in Vietnam. 

"We are writing to respond to Samsung's criticisms of our recent study on working conditions at the company's mobile phone factories in Vietnam... In Vietnam and abroad, Samsung has been actively attempting to suppress and discredit this study that documents a number of concerning health and safety violations... However, none of Samsung's efforts can erase the evidence that Samsung has violated Vietnamese labour law and failed to honour its business obligations on human rights...

Our study and the company's reaction to it revealed several findings that are inconsistent with Samsung's obligations under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights including complying with national laws, providing a safe and healthy working environment, protecting the family unit, right to form independent trade unions, and freedom of expression...

Signature Campaign and BBC Coverage

Leading advocates from human rights, labor rights, women’s rights, public health, environmental justice, and sustainable purchasing organizations from around the world are calling on Samsung to protect the thousands of workers - most of them women of child-bearing age - who are making their mobile phones at factories in Vietnam. A report from the Hanoi-based, gender equity NGO Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN identified numerous health and labor violations from interviews with 45 women who work at two of Samsung’s factories in Vietnam. Please sign and invite your network to join the signature campaign on Change.org .

BBC covered the release of the CGFED/IPEN report on 15 December, in which the news outlet highlighted report findings, including workers' experiences of extreme fatigue, fainting and dizziness at work, and many accounts of miscarriage. In response, deputy general manager of Samsung Electronics Vietnam, Bang Hyun Woo said,"This report does not have a scientific basis." He also said much of the content in the report was "false" and "arbitrary."

IPEN requests Samsung "transparently publishes a complete list of chemicals used at the manufacturing facilities and describes the control."

See BBC's coverage here.

Read Ms Magazine's coverage of the story: Exploited and Endangered: Female factory Workers in Vietnam Open Up About Their Work Conditions.

Korean News Network, JTBC, covers report on Samsung workers in Vietnam. Click this link for a translation of the story: http://ipen.org/site/korean-news-jtbc-covers-report-samsung-vietnam

UPDATED

READ FULL REPORT (English / 한국어)

(Göteborg, Sweden) In an unprecedented study on the experiences of women working at two Samsung factories in Vietnam, a new report documents health and workplace violations by the electronics industry giant. The workers’ experiences of fainting or dizziness, miscarriages, standing for eight-to-twelve hours, and alternating day/night shift work are documented in a report released by the Hanoi-based Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN, a global network of environment and health NGOs working to reduce and eliminate harmful chemicals. 

Samsung dominates the global phone market as well as the electronics sector and economy of Vietnam, where 50% of its smart phones are produced. The electronics sector is a significant area of growth for Vietnam, as electronic products outpace other exports. However, Vietnam has no labor codes specifically protecting the health of electronics industry workers, who are overwhelmingly women.

IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya read this statement at a press conference on the IPEN - UNEP Partnership created to contribute to the work on Gender and Chemicals, through a focus on women, at the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (December, 2017). 

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