Assembly line at the G.Tech Technology Factory, Zhuhai, ChinaPhoto: Chris

Across the globe, people are working under precarious conditions, with little or no guarantee of employment stability, social protection or respect for labour rights. Informal, casual, seasonal, agency and temporary work have become common across sectors, from agriculture to electronics to garments.

Precarious work is a particular problem for vulnerable groups of workers, including women, migrants, children and indigenous people.

We expose the role of corporations in creating and maintaining precarious work and exploitation of labour in various sectors. We focus on child and migrant labour, gender discrimination and human trafficking. We advocate for improved employment contracts, corporate supply chain liability, and enforcement by governments of existing rights and rules to ensure decent work for all.

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the bigger picture

Sustainable Supply Chains

Many of the problems facing people in middle and low income countries (indirectly) result from the practices and policies of multinational corporations at the end of the supply chain.

This can be seen in the supply chains of the garment industry, electronics sector, food production and pharmaceutical industry.

Bad working conditions and unsustainable practices

Many people in these sectors are working under inhumane and dangerous conditions with little or no respect for labour rights or environmental standards. Excessive hours, low wages and precarious employment conditions are common in supply chains of the garments, electronics and food sectors. It’s no coincidence that those who are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation – migrants, young people and women – are heavily employed in these sectors.

Binding regulations and good practices

Together with trade unions and other civil society organisations, SOMO presses for the promotion and protection of the rights of workers, communities and individuals in all stages of supply chains. SOMO pushes for regulation, policies and practices that ensure decent work and sustainability, including legally enforceable corporate accountability mechanisms and a leading role for workers in monitoring and ensuring improvement of workplace conditions. SOMO promotes sustainable public procurement which, by mobilising the massive purchasing power of the public sector, can bring about structural improvements in supply chains.

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