Immediately following the release of a new report linking almost the entire car industry to Uyghur forced labor, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union issued a call for car manufacturers to cut ties with the Uyghur Region.
Volkswagen, other major car companies implicated
The report, Driving Force: Automotive Supply Chains and Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region, by Sheffield Hallam University fingers major international auto manufacturers Volkswagen Audi Group, Honda, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz Group, Toyota, Tesla, Renault, NIO, and Stellantis Group for having “several supply chain exposures to the Uyghur Region.”
It also found that:
- More than 100 international automotive parts or car manufacturers that have some exposure to forced Uyghur labor made goods.
- 10% of the world’s global aluminium production comes from the Uyghur Region
- The Uyghur Region hosts the world’s largest steel supplier and copper supplier
- The interactive website which houses the report declares that any car bought in the last five years likely has parts made by Uyghurs.
United against forced labor
Reuters reports on the very clear and adamant position of UAW President, Ray Curry, on the matter.
Forced labor and other human rights abuses are unacceptable in the modern global economy. The time is now for the auto industry to establish high-road supply chain models outside the Uyghur Region that protect labor and human rights and the environment.
The union’s statement notes the organization’s “long and rich history” fighting for workers’ rights and justice around the world.
Meanwhile, The Alliance of Automotive Innovation, a trade association representing auto companies such as General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai Motor has not yet issued a comment.
Governments and companies are responsible
Freedom United and over 280 organizations, led front and center by Uyghur survivors and families of current detainees, have joined the UAW in calling for the auto industry to leave the Uyghur Region and Uyghur forced labor transfer scheme.
We are also calling on governments to urgently implement mandatory human rights due diligence legislation to ban imports of forced labor goods.
While the movement for greater protection of workers’ rights should be worker led, ultimate responsibility falls to governments and companies to create the policies and enforce the practices that create decent work conditions for all.
We have the power to demand they act! Join the movement today.