LUPC joins Electronics Watch to counter labour abuses in tech industry

Students campaign against supply chain injustice
Image © Adrian Arbib

The largest facilitator of electronics purchasing in the higher education sector, London Universities Purchasing Consortium, joins Electronics Watch to take action against labour abuses in the electronics industry.

Students across the country are campaigning for public bodies to join Electronics Watch, the monitoring organisation that aims to improve conditions for workers in the electronics industry by public sector organisations using their influence on their suppliers. London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) has now become the first UK purchasing consortium to become a Founding Member of Electronics Watch.

LUPC establishes and manages agreements for more than 80 products and services on behalf of  its 65 full members and associates, made up of universities, colleges and other public bodies. Collectively, these organisations are a large-scale consumer of electronic products, arranging contracts for a hundred million pounds each year for computers, printers and other IT equipment.

LUPC Director Andy Davies said:

“Take three important facts – Firstly, LUPC Members care about responsible supply chains. Secondly, LUPC leads the £100m pa national framework agreement for desktop PCs and notebooks, the largest in the UK HE sector. Thirdly, we need to do something about conditions for workers manufacturing electronic goods in low-cost countries.  The result? LUPC becomes one of 25 Founder Members of Electronics Watch (EW), the part EU-funded campaign to press the IT multinationals to improve conditions for workers in their supply chains.”

With Edinburgh University joining only weeks ago, and with public bodies across Europe currently competing to be one of the Founding Members, the campaign looks unstoppable.

Andy Davies again:

“This is a very important social issue for our Members, and we hope that they will follow our lead by supporting and contributing to Electronics Watch’s work, auditing our supply chains in low-cost countries and calling the major IT multinationals to account.  As a sector, we have the power and influence to make a real difference, and now, through Electronics Watch, we have the means to do it.”

Swansea student Rob Abrams said:

“London Universities Purchasing Consortium joining Electronics Watch is a huge step forward towards an electronics industry that universally respects workers’ rights. When students in the People & Planet network first decided to take on our electronic sweatshops campaign, we knew what we were going to have to contend with. Workers in Foxconn factories producing Apple products have been taking their own lives due to work pressures. Elsewhere, poisoning due to exposure to dangerous chemicals as result of the lack of safety provisions has taken an even greater toll. We’ve been saying that the industry needs to change now, not later. To do this, we need to coordinate action. Well done to LUPC for taking this step and putting themselves at the forefront of a wave of change. Our campaign now challenges other purchasing consortiums, as well as individual universities, to follow this example and join our growing movement.”

Jim Cranshaw, People & Planet campaigner said:

“By being one of only 25 Founding Members of Electronics Watch across Europe, LUPC has again positioned itself at the forefront of socially responsible public purchasing. We call on other public bodies to follow their lead.”

Image © Adrian Arbib