23 July 2009 | Jake Kanter
A "significant" number of General Electric's suppliers have not introduced basic labour standards.
The manufacturing conglomerate's annual Citizenship Report out this week, said around 25 per cent of the 2,500 vendors it assessed in more than 60 countries last year had not adopted policies to address worker complaints or prohibit discrimination and harassment.
More than 15 per cent of the suppliers were asked to implement a dispute resolution process and a further 150 were encouraged to give workers the right to express their concerns.
GE said most suppliers addressed the issues last year, but it had to terminate agreements with 200 vendors for poor performance.
The company explained that some contractors make "heroic short-term improvements", but then slip back into bad habits after they have been qualified. It aims to work with the suppliers to improve performance and reduce the need for annual assessments.
"For 2009, we decided to focus more of our efforts on building sustained improvements in long term suppliers to streamline the review of one-time suppliers and to ask all suppliers to take more responsibility for their own performance," the report said.