Joint Research Project Supports Rural Migrant Workers in China

BSCI’s Code of Conduct asks participating companies to improve conditions for all workers – this includes vulnerable groups of workers like internal rural migrant workers who can face discrimination in the workplace in certain sourcing countries. These rights are expressed in two Code principles: No Discrimination, and Fair Remuneration, as social insurance forms part of the remuneration to which all workers are entitled. How can companies sourcing there ensure that the workers in their supply chain are equally benefitting from inclusion in the social insurance system? 

Joint Project Unites Stakeholders on the Migrant Workers Rights in China
Current labour laws in China require employer contributions towards social insurance. However, these are not always stringently enforced, which can lead to labour unrest. To address this, BSCI is a partner in a joint research project with BSR, a global non-profit organization that works with business to build a just and sustainable world. It will support companies sourcing from China through providing an accurate and comprehensive picture of the current challenges, and recommending a range of responses to generate improvement.

Concrete Actions for Concrete Results
The research project will examine the following areas:

  • Legal context: What is shifting in the interpretation and enforcement of regulations around employer/employee contribution levels and coverage?
  • Technical context: How will upgrades in the social insurance system (e.g. mandatory and computerised) affect what brands should expect and require?
  • Economic context: How significant are the expected financial outlays in the short and long term, and how will this affect production and sourcing economics?

BSCI will liaise with the project partners so that research can be carried out with BSCI participants sourcing in China. The outcomes of the project aim at enabling BSCI to better support its over 1,500 participating companies to effectively tackle discrimination in their supply chain in China through concrete information on the scope of the challenge and its implications as well as recommendations for steps to ameliorate the situation.