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Campaigners celebrate as IBM unveil code of conduct

IBM has adopted a code of conduct for their suppliers following the British Caritas organisation's campaign on extreme working conditions in computer factories in the developing world.

Katherine Astill, policy analyst at the CAFOD overseas development and relief agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, welcomed the announcement by IBM but said "All three market leaders [in the electronics industry] must still improve their codes."

CAFOD has been campaigning for brand leaders to take greater responsibility for electronics workers. CAFOD's Clean Up Your Computer report issued in January criticised IBM, Dell and Hewlett Packard after research showed electronic workers in Mexico, Thailand, and China suffering harassment, discrimination and intolerable working conditions.

CAFOD has welcomed the new IBM code as taking some crucial steps towards ensuring decent labour standards in the company's supply chain. These include IBM's commitment to work with suppliers to implement the code and to monitor the implementation.

CAFOD Policy Analyst Katherine Astill said, "This is a great achievement for CAFOD's campaigners who have sent thousands of messages to IBM. The IBM code is roughly as good as the codes of other industry leaders Dell and Hewlett Packard. It is definitely a move in the right direction."

On certain issues, such as putting in place limits of 60 hours per week for workers and guaranteeing employees a day off per week, IBM now leads the field.

Campaigners celebrate as IBM unveil code of conduct (CAFOD 19/4/04)

Campaigners welcome IBM code of conduct (Independent Catholic News 20/4/04)
Caritas fight for computer component workers' rights (CathNews 19/3/04)
Computer companies byte back! (CAFOD 18/3/04)

21 Apr 2004