ALEXANDRIA Va., December 17, 2019 – The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) today announced that it and some of its members have identified and facilitated the return of nearly US$5M to 10,570 migrant factory workers in Thailand for recruitment fees and other costs they paid during their recruitment.
These fees and costs include payments made to labor brokers placing workers in positions at Cal-Comp Electronics, which is a subsidiary of New Kinpo Group and is a supplier to some RBA members. The reimbursements represent the culmination of a thorough investigation and coordinated actions over the past three years. Thus far approximately US$4.99M has been reimbursed to 10,570 current workers. The company is trying to contact an additional 3,714 workers who resigned between 2016 and 2019 and has set aside an additional US$1.75M to cover repayment to those workers if they come forward.
The RBA’s Code of Conduct includes a requirement that no worker should pay recruitment fees or costs for employment, as that can lead to conditions of bonded or forced labor. When allegations of non-conformance to RBA Code requirements at some manufacturing sites in Thailand were brought to the attention of the RBA and several members, they coordinated a sustained effort to verify conditions on the ground and develop appropriate remediation plans for workers. This included rigorous, independent factory and field assessments with significant worker engagement.
The efforts yielded substantial results, including the ongoing reimbursement of recruitment fees and other costs that had been paid by the workers. Further actions taken by Cal-Comp Electronics during the past few years included moving to direct hiring, making sure employees have control of their own passports, and ensuring workers understand the terms of their employment agreements.
“These results demonstrate the power of companies using collaboration and shared leverage, and it is rewarding to see our growing tool set have positive, meaningful impact for workers,” said Rob Lederer, Executive Director of the Responsible Business Alliance. “RBA member companies are tirelessly working to identify and remediate systemic issues that can lead to forced or bonded labor and we appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in this successful endeavor.”
Labor and human rights have been prominently featured in the RBA’s Code of Conduct since the organization’s inception in 2004. In 2015 the RBA also became one of the first industry groups to adopt a “no-fees” policy in its Code of Conduct to eliminate charges to migrant workers seeking employment, while adding other protections against forced labor. In 2017, the RBA launched its multi-industry, multi-stakeholder Responsible Labor Initiative to further ensure the rights and dignity of workers vulnerable to forced labor in global supply chains are consistently respected and promoted through responsible recruitment and employment practices.
The RBA has been piloting a unique and robust set of tools over the last several years to identify and eradicate issues that can lead to forced labor. These issues are extremely complex; each case is different and requires a unique set of solutions, including the use of supply chain leverage unique to the RBA and its membership. The new tools feature enhanced worker voice, speciality audits geared toward identifying forced labor risks at employment sites and labor providers, ethical recruitment training, and other resources to support responsible business conduct and due diligence. Learn more about the RBA, its Code of Conduct, programs and tools here on its website.
About the Responsible Business Alliance
The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) is a nonprofit coalition of leading companies dedicated to improving social, environmental and ethical conditions in their global supply chains. The RBA has a Code of Conduct and a range of programs, training and assessment tools to support continual improvement. The RBA and its Responsible Minerals, Labor and Factory Initiatives have nearly 400 members with combined annual revenues of greater than $7.7 trillion, directly employing over 21.5 million people, with products manufactured in more than 120 countries. For more information, visit ResponsibleBusiness.org and follow @RBAllianceOrg.
Jarrett Bens, Director of Communications
Responsible Business Alliance
Phone: +1 571.858.5721