Technology moves at the speed of innovation – fast, and always seeking the next great product, which means stiff competition between companies.
The speed of production and rapid evolution of products and design, combined with a highly competitive market driven by innovation, requires fast-paced manufacturing operations that are flexible and can scale up or down on short notice. The member companies of the RBA are the makers of the most innovative and useful electronics products on the planet – but they are also concerned that this fast pace can have negative repercussions for workers as they put in the hours to meet the demands of the industry and consumers worldwide.
Excessive working hours in electronics manufacturing remains a key challenge for RBA members. The RBA Code of Conduct is aligned to global standards on working hours and local laws at manufacturing locations. However, violations of the Code remain a challenge despite extensive efforts by RBA member companies.
The RBA had a working group on working hours for several years. Following a working group review in 2013, the RBA decided to transition the group to a taskforce of senior management at key RBA member companies with very clear objectives who could drive change at their companies and down through the supply chain. Key initial activities of this taskforce include hosting a special forum in mainland China focused on sustainability challenges in Chinese manufacturing, including working hours; developing a best practices guidebook to show members the path to consistent appropriate working hours and examining and developing solutions for exacerbating factors like use of temporary workers via labor agencies.
The RBA also has a policy on working hours in China explaining our position on alignment with international norms and Chinese law.