Date filed
20 November 2012
Countries of harm
Current status


The complaint alleges that the wages paid to Chinese migrant workers at a Panasonic plant in Singapore are barely enough to meet their own basic needs and are below Singapores standard for similarly-employed workers. Additionally, because of remittances necessary to support families in China and high recruitment debts, workers are pressured to accept excessive overtime of up to 150 hours per month.

According to the complaint, the high recruitment fees that bind workers to huge debts for long periods of time are a violation of Singapores Employment Agencies Act and the ILOs Private Employment Agencies Convention, which Japan has ratified. These debts cause many workers to stay in exploitative work situations and make them highly vulnerable to situations of forced labour since they fear losing their jobs.

The complaint further alleges that Panasonic has failed to conduct due diligence in ensuring the employment agencies it hires abide by ethical recruitment practices.

Although media pressure in August 2012 forced Panasonic to slightly increase wages, return the migrant workers passports and make contracts available in Chinese, the complaint claims that these measures have had a limited impact on the workers rights and well-being.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


As part of its initial assessment, the Japanese NCP requested additional information from the complainants, which they provided. However, in September 2013, the NCP rejected the case without issuing a public statement or even informing the complainants directly. The complainants were informed of the NCP’s decision through the Japanese embassy in Singapore.

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