One in five computers in Europe is bought by the public sector. Now imagine if they started using their buying power in a coordinated way to hold electronics makers to account for human rights abuses.
There's an organisation they can join called Electronics Watch, that works with local labour groups to investigate abuses in factories supplying the public sector with electronics. Transport for London recently joined, following our campaign with People&Planet in November -- but Scotland would be the first government to sign up.
Students, campaigners and MSPs in Scotland are raising a ruckus right now to get their government to sign up. Let's add our voices, so the Scottish Government knows it's in the spotlight and needs to act.
Ask the Scottish Government to join Electronics Watch to make IT fair.
In July 2014, Xiao Wang was hospitalised in the Hospital of Occupational Disease Prevention and Cure in Shenzhen for 10 months, diagnosed with n-Hexane poisoning. He had been working at a small workshop of only 16 workers, making iPhone replacement screens. None of the people in the workshop knew how dangerous the chemicals they were dealing with were. They just referred to the n-Hexane as 'white gasoline'.
Watchdogs have exposed harrowing cases of child labour, repression, illnesses and even deaths at leading brands like Samsung in Korea, and major HP and Dell suppliers in China. And those are only consumer brands who are in the public spotlight. Just imagine what other electronics corporations will do to maximize their financial returns. Electronics Watch uses clauses in public contracts to require better standards from suppliers, and funds essential monitoring to make sure promises are really kept.
Scotland's government spend on ICT increased by 15% between 2011/12 and 2013/14, reflecting the move to digital public services. They must receive public feedback all the time about those services -- but not about the computers that keep them running, or their electronics procurement policies. Thousands of us petitioned Transport for London to sign up in November, and together with our partners People&Planet, and supportive London Assembly members, we convinced the public body -- one of the largest buyers of electronics in the UK -- to join.
Let's raise our voices now so the Scottish Government leads the way for other governments.
Sign the petition to the Scottish Government to use its buying power to combat rights abuses in the electronics industry.
SumOfUs members have joined many campaigns alongside unions calling on electronics giants to respect workers rights around the world. We've found that a mix of direct and indirect pressure works best. Last year, more than 150,000 of us pressured Apple to pressure its iPhone technology supplier NXP to reinstate workers who were fired for union organising. With governments on our side, we can do so much more!