Labour conditions benefits of nearshoring

When choosing your production partner it is not only important to take into consideration the environmental performance but evenly as important, the social/labour performance. You can use a country risk report made by MVO, which shows a clear difference between the risk factors associated with Asian production countries and the European countries. This is a great tool to use for future orientation as well. In fact, countries like China, India and Pakistan show the presence of risk factors associated with problematic exploitation issues such as child labour and forced labour, as well as a lot of issues regarding the violations of workers rights (non payment, underpayment, unsafe working conditions, discrimination of migrant and women workers).

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Unions are an important tool for safeguard workers rights

If we look at the context of European production countries it is noticeable that while it is difficult to get a clear picture of the situation as a whole (due to the diversity of the Member States and difference in governance structures), European-level regulation establishes minimum requirements in several areas. More specifically, the EU provides a wide-ranging body of laws, international agreements and non-legislative initiatives that note that efforts are made to improve working conditions and job quality for european workers. This considers factors, such as freedom of association, non-discrimination, prohibition of child labor, fair and just working conditions and more.

A concrete example can help you have a clearer idea of the differences between the two contexts of production, Asia and Europe. For instance, let’s compare two countries like China and Spain on the issue of freedom of association.

  • China has not signed the ILO agreements on the formation of trade unions and collective bargaining (C87 and C98). This means the law does not safeguard freedom of association, and calling a strike can result in a prison sentence.
  • Spain, Portugal and Italy are countries affiliated to the IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors, helping workers to fight for better working conditions and trade union rights.

Technology can help accelerate transparency

This shows the importance of due diligence when choosing your manufacturer, information needs to be communicated by the factories and by you to the end user. Initiatives like a digital product passport can help you better communicate your transparency efforts to your clients.

Within the nearshoring boundaries of Europe there are laws currently in place provide a context where the rights of workers are more safeguarded. Nevertheless, such policies are often implemented through the (very different) regulatory systems of each country and this creates a variegated landscape throughout Europe. For example, countries in Eastern Europe are still improving several labor standard issues. However If we look at the big picture, Europe as a whole still provides a significantly safer and better working environment than asian countries on various levels.

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Manufy aims to connect European buyers, manufacturers and freelancers in an efficient, transparent and – most importantly – sustainable way. By doing this we hope to strengthen the European economy, create more support for local sourcing, provide in quality over quantity and help businesses of all sizes grow. Join Manufy today and be part of creating a sustainable future!

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