Globalization Monitor is continuing to monitor the situation at the Gold peak production sites.
In April 2009, Gold Peak made public its decision to move the JetPower plant in Shenzhen to Huizhou. This move will be effectuated by the end of 2009. Clearly, Gold Peak is making use of a loophole in the law that stipulates that a company is not obliged to pay compensation for its ex-workers.
In the past one year (Oct 08 – Oct 09), 19 GP workers with cadmium-related health problems have filed law suits against GP. Some have won and some have lost their cases. Eight workers won their court cases and got back more than 90,000 Yuan as compensation. Gold Peak insists that all workers have to go through court procedures before being entitled to compensation and worker need to spend a lot of time and energy to resolve their problems through the court. Outside the court, workers got around 150,000 Yuan successfully as compensation and reimbursement in the past one year.
In mid-August, workers with excessive levels of cadmium, supported by Globalization Monitor, filed a petition at the Ministry of Health, arguing that the official standard for diagnosing cadmium poisoning is too strict and the period allowed for tracking its impact is too short. These workers have all undergone medical tests that confirm excessively high levels of cadmium in their urine, however, they were not formally diagnosed with cadmium poisoning, and as a consequence they are not entitled to compensation. So far, the Ministry has not yet responded to the petition.
Globalization Monitor is continuing to put efforts in making contact with GP battery workers and ex-workers with excessive levels of cadmium who are still fighting for their rights. Globalization Monitor is strongly focused on making workers aware of their rights. Liaising with workers takes a lot of trust building and is not achieved overnight. A first core of informed workers set up a strong mutual aid network which can then serve as focal point for their fellow workers.
Further to monitoring the Gold Peak case, Globalization Monitor is now taking an industry-view to monitor the trend of the industry. New batteries are taken into production, including Lithium-Ion, Lead-Acid and Nickel-Hydride batteries which are for high-tech products such as environmental friendly and energy saving vehicles and computer products. Some of these types of batteries may not contain cadmium; but it does not mean that health risk would be excluded. Globalization Monitor is particularly concerned about the occupational health and safety risks of workers producing such batteries and will continue to monitor the working conditions in these new areas closely.