Malaysia: Investigation reveals forced labour & migrant worker abuses at factories producing for electronics brands; Incl. co. responses

In June 2019, an investigation by Danwatch revealed abuses faced by migrant workers working at Malaysian factories producing components for major electronics brands and their customers, including Infineon, Possehl, ST Micro, NXP, Panasonic, Toshiba, NXP, Vishay and Texas Instruments. Workers interviewed for the investigation, “Forced labour behind your screen”, allege excessive recruitment fees and forced labour, violent threats, passport confiscation and illegal wage deductions. 

Toshiba told Danwatch it would conduct its own on-site audit to investigate Danwatch's findings and Panasonic said it will "consider" doing a more in-depth survey that does not rely solely on its suppliers information. Infineon, Possehl and ST Micro said they were investigating the case. You can find their comments in the video, included below. Danwatch did not receive any comments from NXP, Vishay or Texas Instruments.

In July, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited NXP, Texas Instruments and Vishay to respond to the investigation. NXP responded that it is working closely together with Possehl, industry associations and other ICT companies to remedy the position of the affected workers with the priority being the repayment of fees and back-wages. NXP's full response is included below. Texas Instruments and Vishay did not respond. 

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Company response
11 July 2019

NXP's response

Author: NXP

...It is important to note that NXP is not a direct customer of Possehl. However, NXP does have a few products that contain materials that have been sourced from Possehl through sub-tier suppliers.

NXP... expects all its suppliers and sub-tier suppliers to adhere to detailed ethical standards that amongst others explicitly forbid excessive overtime and the use of forced labor including the withholding of personal documents, delay or withholding of wages, unlawful deductions on payments or the harassment of workers.

NXP... has been working closely together with Possehl, industry associations and other ICT companies to remedy the position of the affected workers with the priority on the repayment of fees and back-wages and making sure that workers will be treated with respect, dignity and be able to be repatriated to their home country if requested or required...

Download the full document here

Company non-response
10 July 2019

Texas Instruments did not respond

Author: Texas Instruments

Company non-response
10 July 2019

Vishay did not respond

Author: Vishay

28 June 2019

Malaysia: Migrant workers allege forced labour & other abuses at factories producing for electronics brands in Danwatch investigation

Author: Danwatch

"Forced labour behind your screen", 28 June 2019

Millions of migrant workers from Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Myanmar work in factories in Malaysia. Many of them are producing components for some of the world’s most popular electronics brands.

The migrants are promised decent wages, working and living conditions. But many workers end up in debt bondage and forced labour.

Danwatch interviewed migrants working at a Malaysian factory supplying some of Europe’s and the US’ largest computer chip makers.

The workers claim they had their passports confiscated, received violent threats and were deceived about major parts of their wages. According to experts, the working conditions constitute forced labour.

Danwatch interviewed other migrants who had worked at a factory supplying Panasonic and Toshiba. The workers claim the factory confiscated their passports and demanded excessive sums of money to give them back. As a result, several workers are now stuck in Malaysia without documents...

The video, including company comments, can be found here.

Read the full post here