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Company-level grievance mechanisms in the electronics industry: lack of accessibility and effectiveness

Research conducted by SOMO on grievance mechanisms in the electronics industry found that very few workers have trust in the grievance mechanisms of their company.

In countries like China, India, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand, workers in the electronics sector typically work under hazardous conditions and for long hours with little pay. They are often afraid to speak out due to fear of punishment or termination, while at the same time it can be very difficult for them to access remedy mechanisms.

Non-judicial grievance mechanisms are one way workers can improve their situation and demand respect for their rights, stressing the importance that such mechanisms function as they should. UN Guiding Principle 31 outlines that grievance mechanisms should be legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, transparent, rights-compatible, a source of continuous learning and based on engagement and dialogue.

The research shows that most workers do not know how complaints are handled, and have limited knowledge about the different complaint channels. In several cases they have no access to the existing grievance mechanisms. The high level of mistrust and the low percentage of satisfactorily resolved complaints demonstrate an overall poor performance regarding the implementation of company-level grievance mechanisms, which fail to give workers access to remedy.

The research was conducted by SOMO and its partners in China, India, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand. The researchers interviewed or surveyed 337 workers from 40 factories. They also contacted 56 factories, including those where workers were interviewed, to determine whether they have hotlines.

For the report, please click here