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  1. #1
    Senior Member millere's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Chinese teens 'like prisoners' in Microsoft tech factory ... awake.html

    The image Microsoft doesn't want you to see: Too tired to stay awake, the Chinese workers earning just 34p an hour

    By Liz Hull and Lee Sorrell
    Last updated at 12:29 AM on 18th April 2010

    Showing Chinese sweatshop workers slumped over their desks with exhaustion, it is an image that Microsoft won't want the world to see.

    Employed for gruelling 15-hour shifts, in appalling conditions and 86f heat, many fall asleep on their stations during their meagre ten-minute breaks.

    For as little as 34p an hour, the men and women work six or seven days a week, making computer mice and web cams for the American multinational computer company.

    Worn out: Some of the workers making computer accessories for Microsoft at a Chinese factory

    This photo and others like it were smuggled out of the KYE Systems factory at Dongguan, China, as part of a three-year investigation by the National Labour Committee, a human rights organisation which campaigns for workers across the globe.

    The mostly female workers, aged 18 to 25, work from 7.45am to 10.55pm, sometimes with 1,000 workers crammed into one 105ft by 105ft room.

    They are not allowed to talk or listen to music, are forced to eat substandard meals from the factory cafeterias, have no bathroom breaks during their shifts and must clean the toilets as discipline, according to the NLC.

    The workers also sleep on site, in factory dormitories, with 14 workers to a room. They must buy their own mattresses and bedding, or else sleep on 28in-wide plywood boards. They 'shower' with a sponge and a bucket.

    And many of the workers, because they are young women, are regularly sexually harassed, the NLC claimed.

    The organisation said that one worker was even fined for losing his finger while operating a hole punch press.

    Microsoft is not the only company to outsource manufacturing to KYE, but it accounts for about 30 per cent of the factory's work, the NLC said. Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech and Asus also use KYE Systems.

    Microsoft, which exports much of the hardware made at the factory to America, Europe and Japan, said that it is taking the claims seriously and has begun an investigation.

    One employee told the NLC: 'We are like prisoners. It seems like we live only to work - we do not work to live. We do not live a life, only work.'

    The NLC's report included an account from one worker whose job consisted entirely of sticking self-adhesive rubber feet to the bottom of Microsoft computer mice.

    But the monotony of sitting or standing for 12 hours, applying foot after foot to mouse after mouse, was not the worst of the worker's testimony.

    It was the militaristic management and sleep deprivation that affected the worker most. 'I know I can choose not to work overtime, but if I don't work overtime then I am stuck with only 770 Chinese yuan (£72.77p) per month in basic wages,' the worker said.

    'This is not nearly enough to support a family. My parents are farmers without jobs. They also do not have pensions.

    'I also need to worry about getting married, which requires a lot of money. Therefore, I still push myself to continue working in spite of my exhaustion.

    'When I finish my four hours of overtime, I'm extremely tired. At that time, even if someone offered me an extravagant dinner, I'd probably refuse. I just want to sleep.'

    Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the NLC, said: 'It sounded like torture - the frantic pace on the assembly line, same motion over and over for the 12 hours or more of work they did.'

    Microsoft said it was committed to the 'fair treatment and safety of workers'. A spokesman added: 'We are aware of the NLC report and we have commenced an investigation.

    'We take these claims seriously and we will take appropriate remedial measures in regard to any findings of misconduct.'

  2. #2
    Senior Member TexasBorn's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Getyourassoutahere, Texas
    Millere, I personally have seen first hand the sweat shops and deplorable factory conditions in Hong Kong and China. During one of my visits to a factory in the Chinese countryside, the restroom was so bad that you had to hold your breath twenty feet from the door just to be able to go in. It was awful. In one factory in Hong Kong, the factory was located in a very dangerous place in a warehouse district. I almost turned around and left because I felt unsafe. The entry to the factory was dimly lit and there was a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling in the stairwell. The factory was stifling, dirty and the male workers removed their shirts because it was so hot. People tend to forget that China is a communist country and workers are treated almost like animals. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you these things.
    ...I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid...

    William Barret Travis
    Letter From The Alamo Feb 24, 1836

  3. #3
    JohnPershing's Avatar
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    Jan 1970
    The World
    Communism per se has nothing to do with this. Plenty of so called "free" capitalist countries host similar or worse working conditions.

    Besides communism is just a pimple on the backside of China's very long history as a civilization.

  4. #4
    Senior Member millere's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBorn
    Millere, I personally have seen first hand the sweat shops and deplorable factory conditions in Hong Kong and China.

    Did you see the comments section? You can always tell there is a lie going on when someone says to the effect "...I have lived in China for ten years and never see this happening... Our happy laborers are taking naps (at their desks!)" When you figure out the "phony factor" for the comments you will realize that some commentators write like they are corporate astro-turfers...

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bowman's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    North Mexico aka Aztlan
    Not to defend these practices, but for these workers it beats standing in a steaming, smelly, rice paddy with insects swarming around cutting rice by hand, which is the only other option in a country with 1 billion uneducated people. This is our grand children's future it we don't cut immigration. On the other hand the company is stupid to work them for such long hours since it cuts productivity.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Apple was the first to get busted, but since they are the "cool" company nobody cared.

    Apple Admits Child Labor & Sweatshops Used to Build iPhones
    by Amanda Kloer March 01, 2010 07:00 AM (PT) Topics: Child Labor, Child Trafficking

    Yesterday in their annual report, Apple admitted that it had identified at least 11 children working in overseas factories which produce iPods, iPhones, and computers. In addition to the child labor, illegal and exploitative working conditions for adults exist in some of Apple's factories as well. Surprisingly, Apple made these findings public themselves in their most recent annual report. But are they doing enough to prevent the exploitation of children and workers in their factories?

    In addition to the factories that allowed underage children to work there, some of Apple's other factories have been called "sweatshops." The company admitted that just over half of its overseas factories ignore the company policy that employees cannot work more than 60 hours a week. And the factories in China, where the majority are located, regularly break Chinese labor laws which prohibit employees from working more than 49 hours a week. Only 65% of factories were paying the wages and benefits due to workers, and 24 factories in China violated minimum wage laws. One factory even fabricated documentation to hide their underage workers and workers' rights violations from Apple. Apple has now stopped using that factory.

    In response to these findings, Apple has said that the 11 children are no longer employed. They have not clarified, however, whether these kids that were being exploited by their company were unceremoniously tossed back into the pool of potential child laborers or provided some sort of tools or resources to help prevent them from being sucked in by another factory. They also haven't been very specific about what they plan to do as a company to prevent child labor in the future. And almost no attention has been given to the labor violations against adults working in Apple factories.

    Apple certainly gets props for both looking for and fessing up to these issues. Apple is by no means the only electronics company whose products have been made by children or workers who aren't getting a fair shake. And I would hazard to guess that conditions in Apple factories may even be a little above the norm. But Apple also needs to realize that finding and admitting the problem, while important, is just the first step. As a consumer (and lover) of Apple products, I want to know what they as a company plan to do to prevent these sorts of abuses.

    So here is a challenge for you, Apple: be the brightest beacon of corporate social responsibility out there. You've already taken the first step of finding and owning your own flaws. Now, tell us all how you intent to fix them. But doing that, you can tout yourselves as one of the most ethical electronics companies out there. ... ld_iphones
    Don't think about all the things you fear, just be glad you're here.

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