Blog: Annabel reports from Shenzhen and Guangzhou

FWF’s Annabel Meurs went to China. She discussed FWF trainings for factory managers and workers and spent two days observing an audit. “The repetitiveness of the work still surprises me.”

“FWF hosts a roundtable in Shenzhen as part of FWF’s Workplace Education Programme. During the roundtable we evaluate the factory trainings we have done in China so far. FWF’s managers trainer Mr. Ding and workers trainer Ms. Wang share the most important outcomes.

Together with our trainers and stakeholders from NGO’s and grassroots organisations, we discuss how to scale up and deepen the programme to develop best practices for worker representation and dialogue between workers and management.

Open atmosphere
After Shenzhen, I spend two days observing a verification audit at a factory in Guangzhou, following a complaint. It is great to see the audit team at work; how they explain our approach to factory management, their ability to create an open and transparent atmosphere, and the way they point out issues while walking through the factory and speaking to some of the workers.

This factory, where one of our members sources from, produces safety goggles and sunglasses. Completely different from a garment factory.  A part of the production process is automated. This leads to a heated discussion about productivity and innovation and how that affects workers. ‘Technology changes the industry’, states one of our auditors.

Adequate research
Every time I am in a factory, the repetitiveness of the work keeps surprising me; doing the same task day in day out. In this case perhaps even more so than in garment factories, given that there are many different small tasks needed and work is mostly done at the assembly line.

The audit turned out successful: the management was open, transparent and cooperative. They complimented the team with our approach: ‘Finally an audit that does a thorough investigation instead of wanting money in exchange for a certificate’.

Next stop: Vietnam!”

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