In response to: http://designaday.fairphone-open.com/an-even-fairer-phone/
Eric, thank you for starting this discussion and your case design; and thanks to everyone who has participated so far. We agree and recognize that the right to organize and collectively bargain is the most effective tool to realizing decent work. As you know, Fairphone is not just about a phone, it’s about a movement driving change step-by-step towards more ethical and more sustainable practices in the global electronics industry at large. If you’re just getting to know Fairphone, please look at our Fairphone at a Glance section on our website and fact sheet.
Fairphone decided not to operate in isolation or exclude countries, workers or communities that are more challenging. We support and create initiatives that can make a difference to them in, for example, countries like Congo, Ghana and China.
The biggest share of component manufacturers as well as final electronic product assemblers are located in China. We couldn’t agree more that it would be ideal to have a well-functioning union climate and that its protections would guarantee genuine collective bargaining and freedom of association. But in the absence of such a climate, we believe that increasing worker representation and voice is a step in the right direction.
For the first Fairphone, we worked with a production partner located in China where we first looked closely at existing worker representation mechanisms in that specific factory. These factory employees are represented by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), but we are well aware that workers do not have a choice to associate with independent unions.
Together with the factory and other stakeholders including trade unions, academics and NGOs we developed a Worker Welfare Fund (WWF) to increase worker representation and voice. The WWF is an independent legal entity that manages the financial Fairphone premium (5 USD per Fairphone sold) that can be spent by the workforce on projects they find valuable. Key in this process has been the election of 18 worker representatives by and amongst the workforce (more in this video about the Worker Welfare Fund). These elected representatives consult with the workers and negotiate with the management, along with an accompanying training program. We are continuously developing the Worker Welfare Fund in order to achieve our goals for greater worker representation. We will report to our community and stakeholders as we learn more about the Fund’s results as an effective platform in this specific factory and context.
As a small social enterprise we face many challenges and we encourage and applaud any discussion and concrete ideas to make each generation of Fairphone fairer than the one before.
Fairphone Impact Development