Institute of Contemporary Observation
在香港乐施会资助下，ICO于2002年6月开通劳工热线，向在深圳的外来劳工和其他需要帮助的劳动者提供免费的法律知识咨询及综合援助服务。 2003年1月，又与耐克、阿迪达斯、锐步、希尔斯、香港利丰等公司联合在广东500多工厂协助建立工厂内部工人投诉机制，在工厂内张贴法律维权海报 6000多张，散发广东劳工法律指引3万多份。2007年11月，ICO决定将其“劳工热线”转型为面向跨国公司中国供应商工人的“工人保密热线”，在跨国品牌公司、中国供应商及其工人以及外部援助机构之间建立紧密的沟通渠道。该热线已经覆盖广东、江苏、浙江、福建、安徽、山东、北京、河北的30多家工厂，近5万工人直接受惠，涉及电子、服装与纺织品、皮革制鞋、珠宝化妆品等不同行业。对工人的法律、权益以及工作场所遇到的问题，进行直接而有效的干预。同时，对他们的个人生活问题、心理问题也给予积极的协助
互联网工人教育项目该项目得到联合国民主基金http://www.un.org/democracyfund和意大利ISCOS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISCOS 的资助，其总体目标是“青年赋权”和“人权保护”，旨在利用互联网和社交媒体，使24周岁以下年轻外来工建立起互动网络，达到赋权的目的。通过互联网学习，工人的能力得以提升，知识水平得到增长。我们的目标如下：首先，通过使用互联网和社交媒体，用户将会意识到他们作为雇员所拥有的权力和利益。项目会通过教育的手段，如社交网络、网络论坛、信息共享和相互支持来提供这些重要的内容。其次，在青年支持伙伴（学生）以及公民社会组织（NGO）的协助下，互联网和社交媒体上面的用户，将会在外来工中建立一个有效的支持网络。该项目从2010年12月开始试验，2013年2月1日正式启动，在珠江三角洲和长江三角洲实施。合作机构有南京财经大学、南京大学和深圳职业技术学院，以及两个三角洲地区的部分草根劳工组织。详情请见：i-action.org 和 新浪微博@iAction我行。 员工智慧成长项目 在广东，很多工厂的工人来自中西部贫穷农村。他们均面临着如何在企业成长以及如何融入城市的困境，缺乏沟通能力、不善于学习、难以获得职场成长的支持资源是他们的共同特点。本项目的目标是开发工人的智慧及潜能，培养他们的自我学习、自我发展和自我保护的能力，在“赋权”的同时“赋能”，支持工人的个人与职业成长，提升他们的人力资本和社会资本。该项目从2004年开始启动，先后在兴昂鞋业集团、富士施乐、欧姆龙、绿山咖啡等公司位于广东、湖南、江苏的制造工厂内实施，已经成为深受企业欢迎的工人教育项目，共有约15万人次参加过该项目的培养课程。目标设定项目 “目标设定”本是西方针对精英阶层而设计的个性化职业规划与人生成长课程。ICO创造性地运用这个理念开发出针对中国底层工人的“目标设定”课程，帮助工厂里的基层员工设计他们的职业道路和人生方向。中国文化的传统并不鼓励人们独立思考自己的人生方向，多数人习惯于顺从父母、老师或上级领导的安排；然而，当急剧转型的中国社会把成千上万年轻人从落后闭塞的农村抛到快速变化的城市时，很多工人会因此而感觉到不知所措、迷茫无助。该项目的目标就是用“目标设定”的工具启发工人的内心需求，帮助他们制定实现人生目标的成长计划，并为实施这个计划提供思想和知识的支持资源。从2010年开始，该项目已经在两家广东的工厂里实施，深受工人喜爱。员工委员会项目 结社自由和集体谈判是工人的基本权利之一，然而在中国特殊的政治环境里，这项基本权利经常受到忽略，甚至压制。为此，ICO曾经与社会责任国际（Social Accountability International)、国际皮革、成衣和纺织行业工会共同开发员工委员会项目，并在2003年到2005年间在广东的5家工厂实施，协助工人通过加强与管理层沟通的方式增进劳资双方的关系。此后，ICO将该项目推广到广东、江苏和浙江的9家工厂，成功协助工人依据民主选举的原则与方法成立了代表基层员工利益的员工委员会。为劳资双方的集体协商建立了稳定而有效的沟通渠道，实现了劳资双赢的社会与经济效益。可持续天然石材项目从2013年开始，ICO与德国Xertifix 共同推动可持续天然石材项目。从社会与环境两个角度对从中国和东南亚出口到欧盟地区的天然石材进行监督，包括审核采石场、石材加工厂以及石材出口商的劳动条件、人权状况和环境问题，以促进天然石材的开采与加工行业改善工作条件与保护环境。至今，已经对八家石材出口商的30多家工厂，以及20多家矿山进行了审核。对于存在较多问题的企业，也提供系列的培训，以培养工厂与矿山的管理人员、工人具备持续改善的能力。
早在2003年初，ICO就在广东珠江三角洲地区的工厂推出了工人教育项目。2004年3月，在美国国务院和美国加州大学伯克利分校的支持下，ICO于深圳创办了中国首家外来工社区学院，旨在为外来工提供继续教育的机会，帮助他们发展人力资本和社会资本，融入当地社区和主流社会，但终因未能得到政府的批准，该学院在艰难运行三周年后，于2007年8月被迫关闭。之后，ICO教育培训团队专注于在跨国公司供应链的中国工厂内部开展教育培训活动，先后在东莞的兴昂制鞋集团（2004年--2006年）、美国杜邦公司深圳工厂（2005年）、广州贝尔罗斯公司（2005年）、Burberry的中国供应商（2006年--2013年）、深圳开发科技公司（2011年）、日本富士施乐深圳和东莞工厂（2006年至今）、日本欧姆龙深圳、东莞、衡阳、苏州工厂（2010年至今）、美国绿山咖啡公司（2013年至今）等10多家跨国公司及其供应商的50多家工厂里执行了100多个项目，培训对象主要是生产线的普通工人和基层班组长，共有20多万人参加了这些教育培训项目，其中大约70%的外来女工。 这些教育培训项目聚焦于工厂管理层和工人的能力建设，促进工作条件的改善和保障工人的权益，并为企业提供更多的发展机会。为此，我们陆续推出了智慧成长课程、目标设定项目、互联网教育项目、班组长能力成长计划等深受企业管理层和员工欢迎的课程与项目。经常被选择的课程包括： （1）员工沟通能力 （2）人际关系与心理调适 （3）安全与健康 （4）公民意识与法律知识 （5）城市生活能力 （6）婚姻、恋爱、家庭与亲子教育 （7）个人理财与职业规划（8）打造优秀团队与激励下属（9）组班长的角色与职责（10）如何做一个优秀的管理者
在福特基金会,香港乐施会,挪威人权研究中心,加拿大国际援助署,芬兰观察等机构的支持下，从2001年机构创办以来，ICO在劳工权益、跨国公司的企业社会责任、跨国公司供应链的劳动状况、从农村进城谋生的边缘人群生存状态、职业安全与健康、工厂员工与管理层的需求等方面全方位研究中国劳工的生存与工作环境，探索保障他们基本权益的各种行动方案。这些研究项目的成果主要体现在《华南地区工人宿舍研究》（英国Pentland公司2002年出版》，《边缘人》（新华社2003年1月出版），《跨国公司企业社会责任与中国社会》（中国社会科学文献出版社2003年1月出版），《身体的价格--中国工伤索赔研究》（人民日报出版社2004年1月出版），《工厂里的日子--诺基亚中国供应商的劳动条件调查》（芬兰观察 2005年3月出版），《权利失落的社会结构--对一宗集体劳动争议案件的追踪研究》（深圳当代社会观察研究所2005年6月出版），以及在分散于其他专题学术著作的数十篇论文。 同时，ICO研究团队还在2003年到2005年期间，参加了国际劳工组织、世界银行和国际乐施会对跨国公司全球供应链遵守国际劳工标准，以及妇女权益的全球研究项目。这些研究旨在深入理解欧美跨国公司在其全球供应链中推行企业社会责任政策对工作条件和工人权益的影响。这些研究报告均对国际社会制定相关企业社会责任标准起到了重要的参考作用。另外，在2003年到2005年期间，ICO连续编辑出版了10期《FORUM--中国劳工研究支持网络》，是最早传播基层劳工声音的重要杂志。
ICO has a comprehensive understanding of the vulnerable groups in the cities and explores various ways to help them move out of poverty and live a life with dignity. In 2005 ICO assisted the World Economic Forum's Global Health Initiative to launch a public-private cooperation “China Health Alliance” to combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Chinese government, various companies, the United Nations and NGOs worked together in this project as a response to China's increasing social and economic threats caused by AIDS and tuberculosis. In 2006, funded by the British Embassy in Beijing, ICO carried out the project "Prevention of HIV / AIDS from Migrant Workers" with two communities and three factories in Guangdong, which brought the migrant workers who lived in comprehensive communities with precious experience to realize public health programs. In 2006-2007, funded by the World Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), ICO together with the the National Association of Vocational Education of China (Shenzhen) implemented the project “Mutual Support, Walk out of Poverty - Shenzhen Waster Pickers Newwork” to provide training on empowerment, peer education, emergency relief and other forms of assistance to create an informal network of 10,000 waster pickers in Shenzhen who are originating from Henan and Anhui. This project improves waster pickers’ abilities of self-protection and self-development when educates them on laws, health and environment.
Supported by Oxfam Hong Kong, ICO initiated its workers hot-line in June 2002 to provide migrant workers in Shenzhen and other workers with free legal advice and comprehensive assistance services. In January 2013, ICO in cooperation with Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Sears and Li & Fung (Hong Kong) assisted over 500 factories in Guangdong to building up their internal complaining mechanisms, in which over 6,000 posters on legal rights protection were posted in factories, over 30,000 legal guidelines on labours in Guangdong were distributed.In November 2007 ICO decided to transform its Workers Hot-line to the Confidential Workers Hot-line for workers to set up an effective communication channel between multi-national brand corporations, Chinese suppliers and their workers and external assisting organizations. The hot-line covers more than 30 factories in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Anhui, Shandong, Beijing and Hebei. Nearly 50,000 workers from different industries such as electronics, textiles, leather and shoes manufacturing, jewelry and cosmetics were directly benefit from it. It also assists workers with their individual confusions and psychological problems when directly deals with the problems which workers face in laws, rights and welfare and work places.
Based on its rich experience and professionalism in factories and their sustainable development, ICO acts as a consultant to companies for services concerning business development strategies, human resource management, employee relations, environment protection and community relations. It provides unique and systematic solutions to the companies on their corporate social responsibility and relations with the investors and clients. In the past 10 years, ICO team has served over 30 international brands, retailers and manufactures with more than 100 consulting services for the internal problems of factories.Meanwhile, ICO also provides professional consultancy services to government and public organizations on rules of laws, human rights, good governance, community relations, sustainable social governance and others. The organizations who commission ICO include the European Commission and other international financial organizations, and the target groups include the Supreme Court, the Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, Ministry of Civil Affairs of the PRC, the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC, local departments of legislation, judiciary, civil affairs, education, forestry and agriculture.
E-learning initiativeThis project is funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)http://www.un.org/democracyfund and ISCOS, Italy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISCOS . Its overall objectives are "youth empowerment" and "human rights protection". It aims at enabling young migrant workers under the age of 24 to use the Internet and social media for networking and self-learning thus to enhance their level of education and achieve empowerment. The projects objectives are as follows: Firstly, through using the Internet and social media, users will realize that as employees, they have rights and interests. The project will provide these important elements by means of educating, for example, social networks, online forums, information sharing and mutual support. Secondly, under the assistance of young supporters (student volunteers) and civil society organizations (NGOs), an effective supporting network will be established by users on Internet and soical media among migrant workers. The project started in December 2010 as a trial and was officially launched in February 2013 in the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta. Cooperation partners are Nanjing University of Finance and Economics and Shenzhen Polytechnic as well as NGOs in the two Delta regions. For Smart growth for employees In Guangdong many factory workers come from the rural impoverished areas in mid-western China. They face difficulties to grow and develop themselves in the company as well as integrate themselves in the city. Their underdeveloped communication skills and low level of education makes it difficult to obtain the resources to rise up in the company. The objective of this project is to develop workers' talents, potential, abilities of self-learning, self-development and self-protection, to enable when empowering, to support workers' personal and career development, and to improve their human and social capital. The project started in 2004 and has been implemented successively in factories of Stella Footwear Group, Fuji Xerox, Omron, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc, etc located in Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangsu. It has become a popular education program with 150,000 participants. Goals setting project "Goals setting" is a concept designed and often used in the West for elite personalized career planning and life development courses. ICO uses this concept to develop a "Goals setting" course for migrant workers who are factory floor level employees to develop their career path and orientation in life.Traditional Chinese culture does not encourage people to think independently about their personal direction in life. Most people are used to obey their parents, teachers or superiors arrangements. When the rapid transformation of Chinese society brings thousands of young people from rural backward countryside into the rapid changing cities, many workers will feel overwhelmed, confused and helpless. The goals setting project aims at inspiring workers to consider their personal needs to help them achieve their goals in life and to develop plans for personal growth and to provide ideas and knowledge to support the implementation of their plans. Since 2010, this program has been implemented in two factories in Guangdong, which has won great popularity among workers.Workers committee project Freedom of association and collective bargaining is one of the fundamental rights of workers, but in China's special political environment, the fundamental rights are often ignored, and even suppressed.Because of this nuisance ICO worked with Social Accountability International, an international leather, garments and textile industry union committee of employees to develop a project to help workers by strengthening communication with the management and thus improve the relationship between employers and employees. The project was implemented in five factories in Guangdong between 2003 and 2005. Since then ICO has implemented this project in nine factories in Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and successfully assisted workers to found employee committee on behalf of workers' interests under the guideline of democratic election. This project established a stable and effective communication channel for collective bargaining among employers and employees, therefore realize the win-win effect and bring social and economic benefits. Sustainable Natural Stone ProgramSince 2013, ICO, as a partner of Xertifix in Germany, implements sustainable natural stone program. It aims at monitoring the natural stones exported from China and Sounthern Asia to Europe from the perspective of society and environment, including auditing quarries, stone processing factories and stone export merchants at the aspects of working conditions, human rights and environmental protection, in order to improve the working conditions and environment in natural stone exploitation and processing industries. So far, there are more than 30 factories, 20 quarries of 8 exporters have been audited. ICO also provides training workshops to these factories and quarries to build their capacity of social and environmental compliance.
ICO built up its social audit (ethics and human right audit) and assessment team in 2002 and gradually develops to a leading institution for social audits and assessments in mainland China. Now the business has became the backbone of ICO, taking up 50% of its total business. In the past 12 years, ICO’s audit and assessment team has conducted more than 6,000 audits in Greater China (including China mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao), Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia and other countries and regions. The audited 2,000 factories are from different industries of electronics, textiles and garments, leather and shoes manufacturing, toy manufacturing, jewelry and cosmetics, ceramics, hardware, printing, paper production, natural stone processing, sugar making, agriculture, breeding, forestry, etc. Customers who choose ICO for audits and assessments are mainly from Europe, America and Japan including financial investment organizations, brands, retailers, suppliers and other international organizations and multi-national corporations.
As early as 2003 ICO started conducting workers education programs in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong. In March 2004 ICO founded China's first migrant workers Community College with the support of the United States Department of State and the University of California, Berkeley. It was designed to provide continuing education for migrant workers, to help them develop their human capital and social capital, to integrate themselves into the local community and mainstream society. The result of the project has not been approved by the government thus the Community College was forced to close in August 2007. Later ICO focus on education and training inside of multinational supply chain factories in China. More than 10 multinational companies and their suppliers with more than 50 factories took part in the implementation of over 100 training activities. The participating companies were Dongguan Stella Footwear Group (2004 - 2006), DuPont factory in Shenzhen (2005), Guangzhou Paros (2005), Burberry's Chinese suppliers (2006 - 2013), Shenzhen Kaifa Technology company (2011), Fuji Xerox (Japan) in Shenzhen and Dongguan (2006 - present), Omron (Japan) plants in Shenzhen, Dongguan, Hengyang and Suzhou (2010 - present), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (2013 - present), USA. The training is primarily aimed at ordinary production line workers and grassroots group leaders. A total of over 200,000 people participated in these education and training projects of which approximately 70% were female migrant workers.These educational programs focus on capacity-building for the factory management and the workers, promoting the improvement of working conditions and protection of workers rights as well as providing further development opportunities for the enterprise. The most welcomed trainings include:Employee Communication Ability (2) Interpersonal Relations And mental Adaptation (3) Safety And Health (4) Civic Consciousness And Legal Knowledge (5) City Life Skills (6) Marriage, Love, Family And Parenting (7) Personal Financial Management And Career Planning(8) Team Building And Motivation(9) Team Leaders Roles And Responsibilities(10) Managements Best Practices
Since its foundation in 2001, ICO has conducted research on labor rights, corporate social responsibility of multinational corporations, labor conditions in companies which are part of the global supply chain, living conditions of migrant workers, occupational safety and health, plant employees and management needs and other topics. These research projects were conducted with the support of the Ford Foundation, Oxfam Hong Kong, the Norwegian Research Centre for Human Rights, the Canadian International Aid Agency, FinnWatch and other organizations. The results of these research projects are mainly reflected in their numerous publications: South China Workers Dormitory Research (English Pentland's 2002 publication), Marginalized People (Xinhua News Agency published in January 2003), Multinational Corporations Social Responsibility and the Chinese Society (Chinese Social Sciences documentation Publishing House, published in January 2003), The Body’s Price - A Research Report on Industrial Injury Compensation (People’s Daily Press, published in January 2004), Days in the Factory - Nokia China Suppliers Working Conditions Survey (FinnWatch, published in March 2005), Lost Rights Social Structure - A Case Study of Tracking Collective Labor Dispute (Institute of Contemporary Observation published in June 2005) and many others. Furthermore, the ICO research team has been involved in a research project initiated by the International Labor Organization, the World Bank and Oxfam International from 2003 to 2005 which aimed at investigating multinational companies’ compliance with international labor standards, as well as global research projects on women's rights. These studies were designed to understand the implementation of CSR policies in the global supply chain by European and American multinationals and their Impact on working conditions and workers' rights. These studies play an important role as reference points for the international community to development of relevant standards of corporate social responsibility. In addition ICO edited and published 10 volumes of the magazine FORUM - China Labor Research Support Network between 2003 and 2005. It is the first magazine giving grass-root level labor organizations a voice.