Dear Mr. Brands,
FNV would like to draw your attention to the following case in China.
We would like to bring this case to your attention because of your role as the European Head Office of GP Batteries.
Gold Peak Industries produces batteries in factories in Huizhou-city, in the province Guangdong, South-China. Gold Peak is one of China’s leading battery factories and has won several awards.
The working conditions in Gold Peak battery factories though are extremely bad. The factories in Huizhou have an appalling history of health and safety violations and long working hours.
More than 400 workers at Gold Peak's factories are suffering from high levels of exposure to the cancer-causing chemical cadmium, as a result of handling the chemical without protective clothing or proper safety instruction. The workers were exposed to cadmium while producing rechargeable batteries for toys.
Gold Peak workers, together with supporters and labour rights activists, have been campaigning for improved compensation from the company, sickness insurance and better provision of medical check-ups. Gold Peaks enhances a very intimidating method for the workers’ medical checkups: for urine test the workers have to fully undress. To be able to receive compensation, the affected workers had to be fired. Besides the financial problems, they are facing high medical bills as well. It is hard to find a job because of their medical situation. The Chinese law for compensation is very limited though so they are now campaigning for better compensation.
Gold Peak in China is not very cooperative and when the workers asked for support from the Chinese government, Gold Peaks’ local management threatened them with criminal charges.
Gold Peak has finally promised to set up a fund for the financial assistance of the workers. But according to our partner Gold Peak has not taken much action so far. The amount of money for the fund (1.3 million US dollars) is not enough and the company does not open up on the exact number of cadmium poisoning cases.
The case has already received considerable international attention. In November the workers offered a letter with demands to Gold Peak. Unfortunately the management is not willing to meet their wishes.
On behalf of FNV, which is involved in this severe case of cadmium poisoning in the GP Batteries factories in China, we would like to ask you, as the Head Office of GP Batteries in Europe, to take your responsibility for this terrible situation of the workers in the factories of Gold Peak Industries.
Only when Gold Peak takes responsibility for these cadmium poisoning cases, there might be some improvement in the future.
We would like to receive your response in this matter and we will contact you in the near future.
With kind regards,