IOM, IKEA Celebrate Completion of Migrant Worker Safeguards Project in Thailand
Bangkok – This month (October) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and IKEA completed a ten-month project to put safeguards in place to protect migrant workers employed by their suppliers in Thailand.
Through this engagement, IOM worked with a total of 73 representatives of IKEA and its suppliers to map the recruitment processes of workers and build the suppliers’ capacity for better protection of migrant labour in their operations.
“One of the ways IKEA will become people and planet positive by 2030 is by working to create a positive social impact for everyone across the IKEA value chain,” said Kim Lindell, Manager of IKEA Purchasing & Logistics Area South East Asia. “This includes working with others to define fair and responsible recruitment practices and gaining an in-depth understanding of the recruitment journey of migrant workers.
Through a series of online and in-person capacity building sessions held between March and July 2020, based on recruitment processes mapping, IOM trained more than 20 IKEA Supply co-workers, located in North Europe, East Asia and South East Asia. Training participants included also 26 IKEA suppliers and service providers in Thailand and six suppliers based in Asia and Europe.
Sessions focused on international standards such as the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), national law in Thailand and workers’ countries of origin, effective grievance mechanisms as well as the increased risks of labour exploitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the needs identified by suppliers, with the support of IKEA, IOM developed a series of guidance materials to improve worker-employee communications such as the Human Rights Guidance Note on Employer Responsibilities and Cultural Sensitivity, and four fact sheets to raise migrant workers’ awareness on their rights and responsibilities, both which will soon be available to the general public.
“All workers, including migrant workers can be considered the backbone of any supply chain. The ceramics industry especially relies mainly on manual labour. To keep the production running smoothly means having sufficient and satisfied workers,” said Vorapojna Narapiromkwan, Assistant Manager of Employee Relations Department at Royal Porcelain Public Company Limited.
He added that treating workers, including migrant workers, fairly and ethically is very important for ensuring a lower turnover rate of workers. “Long-term engagement of well-trained employees is at the core of business sustainability. We would advise all suppliers to participate in the training organized by IOM and IKEA as it can help them to adopt international standards in their workplace,” Mr. Narapiromkwan said.
While all businesses need to develop strategies to identify and address risks, there is an opportunity for companies to demonstrate leadership in this arena.
“We are committed to uphold ethical recruitment and employment standards and practices. Our work with IOM is developing our ability to meet these commitments,” said Kanwarpreet Singh, Sustainability Compliance Manager at IKEA Purchasing & Logistics Area South East Asia.
This initiative is part of IOM Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) initiative, which is a regional partnership that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold the human and labour rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains.
For more information, please contact IOM at [email protected]
Photo: Myanmar migrant worker in Bangkok. The worker is not associated with IKEA’s supply chain. © IOM