5 August 2014, Hong Kong

SACOM strongly condemns the explosion in Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co Ltd. (hereinafter Zhongrong) on 2 August 2014.  As at 4 August 2014, the incident caused at least 75 dead and injured more than 180 workers.  Many injured victims have burn over 75% to 95% of the total body surface and at least 11 workers are still in critical condition. According to the media, we learnt that the explosion was caused by the burning of inflammable metallic dust.

Zhongrong is under the supply chain of CITIC Discastal, which produces wheel rim for automobile companies such as General Motors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Mazda, Honda. SACOM demands the involved companies to take up their corporate social responsibility to pay the compensation and lifelong medical treatment for the victims and their families, also to ensure the safety standards of other factories. Should they fail, production must immediately be put on halt until the official standards are met.

The production relationships among Zhongrong, CITIC Discastal and its clients expose a complicated web of globalised supply chain. Production order, together with safety responsibility, are outsourced to developing countries. In return, high profit is generated from taking advantage of low wages in the region where labour rights are severely exploited or even workers’ lives are sacrificed.

In 2011, SACOM reported the aluminium dust accumulation to a dangerous level in iPad production lines in Foxconn Chengdu. Neither Apple nor Foxconn reacted to our warning. Only a few months later, a deadly explosion happened, killed 3 workers and injured many.

SACOM is outrageous with employers’ continuous negligence of work safety where workers are always at fatal risk. We sternly demand all involved companies to take their corporate social responsibility to pay the full compensation for the victims and their families, especially the lifelong medical treatment for burned workers. We request that the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China, the government of Kunshan City and Jiangsu Province should investigate the case seriously, disclose a detailed report to the public and give a detailed measure to prevent the occurrence of similar incident.

We request the Zhongrong, CITIC Dicastal, General Motors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Mazda, Honda to reply our letter by 8 August 2014. Contact person: Kwan Liang, Project Officer, SACOM at email kwan[at]sacom[dot]hk.

Initiated by

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour

Supported by

Asia Monitor Resource Centre

Chinese Working Women Network

Globalization Monitor

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association

Labour Action China

Left 21

Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre

The ITUC/GUF Hong Kong Liaison Office

Worker Empowerment