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HOME vs Panasonic Corporation

Case overview

Date filed 20 November 2012
Current status Rejected
Issue Abuse of migrant Chinese workers at Panasonic plant in Singa
Summary of the case The complaint alleges that the wages paid to Chinese migrant workers at a Panasonic plant in Singapore are barely enough to meet their own basic needs and are below Singapores standard for similarly-employed workers. Additionally, because of remittances necessary to support families in China and high recruitment debts, workers are pressured to accept excessive overtime of up to 150 hours per month.

According to the complaint, the high recruitment fees that bind workers to huge debts for long periods of time are a violation of Singapores Employment Agencies Act and the ILOs Private Employment Agencies Convention, which Japan has ratified. These debts cause many workers to stay in exploitative work situations and make them highly vulnerable to situations of forced labour since they fear losing their jobs.

The complaint further alleges that Panasonic has failed to conduct due diligence in ensuring the employment agencies it hires abide by ethical recruitment practices.

Although media pressure in August 2012 forced Panasonic to slightly increase wages, return the migrant workers passports and make contracts available in Chinese, the complaint claims that these measures have had a limited impact on the workers rights and well-being.
Developments/Outcome As part of its initial assessment, the Japanese NCP requested additional information from the complainants, which they provided. However, in September 2013, the NCP rejected the case without issuing a public statement or even informing the complainants directly. The complainants were informed of the NCP’s decision through the Japanese embassy in Singapore.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Labour rights, Human rights

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Japan
NCP address
NCP website http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/oecd/
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

Company Information

Company responsible Panasonic Corporation
Company address
Company website
Company in violation Panasonic Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
Country of operations Singapore
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
27 August 2013 National Contact Point Japan reject The complaint was rejected by the NCP  
20 November 2012 Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics file The complainants have sent the complaint to the NCP. download pdf (30Kb)  

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