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Good Working Conditions

Meet the Makers: The people behind your Fairphone

Good Working Conditions

I’d like to introduce you to just a few of the people who make the Fairphone 3: Xu Shang Chao, Li Su Fang, and Zhao Hui Li. They all work at Arima (our final assembly partner) in China.

A Fairphone isn’t just another product: it is the people that make it. People who are skilled in their fields, working to provide for their families, to receive an education, or a higher quality of life.

 

Some of the people behind every Fairphone 3 work at the Arima factory, carefully testing and assembling all the parts that go into a finished phone. In many cases, they’ve moved hundreds of kilometers from their hometowns to take advantage of better employment opportunities, leaving their loved ones behind. One example is Li Su Fang, who explains:

“I work in Wujiang alone. My husband, kids and my old folks are back in my hometown of Henan. When I’m off work, the first thing I do is call my family and ask how my parents are doing. And how my kid’s grades are. In the future, I will focus on developing my management skills and hope to get promoted. And get a better life for my family.”, Li Su Fang

Even though the factory workers in China are half a world away from our head office in Amsterdam, they are people like you and me with similar goals and dreams. However, in our industry it’s surprising rare to see videos like these that show footage of the actual electronics factories and the people who work there. As part of our partnership with Arima, we’re making an effort to flip that script by showing how things work behind the scenes and increasing worker satisfaction and safety. We want to show the wider world that it’s possible to make changes and share information – and that we’re one of the companies making it happen.

 

 

That’s why we’re proud to announce that as of November this year, Xu Shang, Li Su, and other workers at Arima’s factory receive a living wage bonus. This quarterly bonus will help improve their quality of life and employee satisfaction, and in the long term, it will help reduce the need to work overtime. As advised by the workers themselves, this bonus will be shared with all of this factory’s employees, not just those on the Fairphone 3 production line. It’s a small but significant step towards bridging the living wage gap, and is paid directly by Fairphone 3 owners as part of the cost of the phone – €1.50 to be exact. If the other brands working with Arima adopted a similar approach, all factory employees would earn a full living wage. Just imagine the impact if the industry as a whole took this stance.

But our efforts don’t stop with a better paycheck. We’re also working with Arima to measure worker satisfaction (through surveys and group discussions), so we can learn directly from the factory workers what they want to see improved. Based on their input, we’ve made funding available for training opportunities, as well as improvements to the canteen and dormitories. In other words, we integrate worker voice and worker representation in our efforts to make the factory a better place to work. This is not common in the electronics industry, but we think it should be to really make a difference for the workers. You can learn more about how we’re improving working conditions with Arima in a blog post we published earlier this year.

This partnership is showing the world that a fairer future is not only possible, but that Fairphone customers are actually building it today. If you want to know more about the world behind your phone, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.

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