Microsoft, others accused of breaking 'every single labor law in China'

By on April 14, 2010, 5:43 PM
The National Labor Committee has released a new report accusing Microsoft and other tech giants of -- get this -- abusing Chinese workers. It's said that the software company has contracted a factory owned by KYE in Dongguan, China that uses up to 1,000 students aged 16 to 17 during the summer as part of a "work study" project.

For $0.65 an hour students perform labor such as assembling mice, scanners, keyboards, and more for up to 15-hour shifts. Most stay for a period of three months, but others remains for six months or longer. In addition to school kids, the factory reportedly prefers to hire women between 18 and 25 years old, since they are "easier to discipline and control."


Workers estimate that Microsoft accounts for about 30% of the production at KYE, the largest chunk, while companies like HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech, and Asus are also named. The National Labor Committee has a lengthy article, complete with photos and employee accounts if you're interested.

Microsoft responded to the accusations, saying it is "committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers" and that it will take "appropriate remedial measures in regard to any findings of vendor misconduct."




User Comments: 29

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

Welcome to capitalism.

Guest said:

The photo is a little misleading. From business associates familiar with China, work break

"naps" are common. The article, and the associated photo lead the reader to believe

the women have been worked so hard, they fell asleep.

Guest said:

I wish we had nap breaks at work.

ToastOz said:

They have to nap after 15 hours of work that doesn't leave a lot of time for sleep

Regenweald said:

Guest said:

Welcome to capitalism.

Don't be pretentious. Go throw out every one of your belongings made under poor working conditions. Then enjoy living in the woods naked.

Guest said:

"welcome to capitalism" ???

China is communist and that is why they have laborers at $0.60/hour dip$hit

No mention of Apple? EVERYTHING Apple sells is made in the same plants, in the same area of China.

Alexexex Alexexex said:

$.65 an hour is about how much I make from newspapers, for goodness sakes they're students... anyways it's USD currency they're getting paid with I assume so it ain't that bad.

tonylukac said:

Way to go Murdock. He owns newspapers and the dow jones, the circus owner. Guess what, Rupert. WIth Obama's medical bill you have to pay your paperboys medical benefits. Better get out your Kindle.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

Pass on the savings!

Eh, I have no problem with this. If we were to only use labor in the US, a single mouse might cost well over $200 USD just to pay for the workers benefits and all, and still be profitable.

Anyways, we know that these plants exist in other countries for awhile now, why bring it up now?

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The usual ugly face of capitalism (provided these accusations are true), as ultimate objective always is to make money at every cost, or rather no/little cost at all .

Guest said:

I never liked how the Chine Government system worked. I sometime feel like crashing those ****ing bastards like ****ing rats.

windmill007 said:

I think all theses companies should be forced to pay the same wage in other countries...then maybe .. just maybe they wouldn't be so quick to move all our jobs overseas!!

Guest said:

Do they have labor laws in China? LOL

Kidding, but, that photo looks very fake IMO. And, anyway, China is very well known to be very "flexible" with labor laws and salary pays, so, if every company does that, why can't M$??

nazartp said:

I think all theses companies should be forced to pay the same wage in other countries...then maybe .. just maybe they wouldn't be so quick to move all our jobs overseas!!

And should that happen, you would not be able to afford a computer at all...

Sorry buddy, but the only reason for your standard of living is the use of comparative advantage principle. You take it away and you will be growing your own potatoes and sewing your own shirts.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Dear Human Race:

You can easily stop all of this horrible treatment of workers. Just build robots to do everything, and there will never be labor issues again, and you can still buy your widgets at remarkably low prices. The alternative is higher prices and having less, you don't want that now do you?

Sincerely,

Skynet

Guest said:

Ok, i get it, but why did you use a pictures of the workers passed out on their work stations? its hilarious lol

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Vrmithrax said:

Dear Human Race:

You can easily stop all of this horrible treatment of workers. Just build robots to do everything, and there will never be labor issues again, and you can still buy your widgets at remarkably low prices. The alternative is higher prices and having less, you don't want that now do you?

Sincerely,

Skynet

Vrmithrax that was Awesome!!!

Guest said:

NO NO and just NO if this stuff was made in the USA and say they had to pay workers $12h- but was made faster and better with more automated equipment. the item say a mouse mite cost you $10-15 $ more......BUT the CEO and mangemnt would not get those huge bonuses they love. Most pepoel suffer for a few greedy basterds. You think they make stuff in china to save you money HA your a fool

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I wonder if they really mean ALL the labor laws? Cause I'm sure there must be some obscure law, like not selling congee during the vernal equinox, which they did not violate.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Dear Human Race:

You can easily stop all of this horrible treatment of workers. Just build robots to do everything, and there will never be labor issues again, and you can still buy your widgets at remarkably low prices. The alternative is higher prices and having less, you don't want that now do you?

Sincerely,

Skynet

Again, while this seems terribly clever, you haven't taken into account that somebody would have to dig up the raw materials, to build the factories to built the the robots. I doubt that Skynet will happen, since you're probably too busy texting and tweeting from reform school to be bothered with manual labor.

Anyway, if you want worlds of insight opened to you, try reading Huxley's "Brave New World". Oh, and use your Chinese iPad, so you don't have to be bothered to turn those big heavy pages by yourself.

Plan "B" would be to read the actual book, and hire an illegal alien to turn the pages for you.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

OK Well, The Chinese Built the Railroads Too........

The trouble with being unable to spell, realizing very little in the way of reading comprehension, having a minimal skill set, and trying to suck your social conscience out of an iPhone, is you get threads like this which are this stupid, pointless, and misguided.

The trouble with a consumer driven society, is that it will always require somebody to work cheaply to provide goods to the pack of parasites that are the rest of us. Keep in mind also, that when we run out of workers in "emerging nations" to exploit, the fun ride will end. Or, as in "Avatar", we will have to find other worlds to exploit.

NO NO and just NO if this stuff was made in the USA and say they had to pay workers $12h- but was made faster and better with more automated equipment. the item say a mouse mite cost you $10-15 $ more......BUT the CEO and mangemnt would not get those huge bonuses they love. Most pepoel suffer for a few greedy basterds. You think they make stuff in china to save you money HA your a fool
The point you've managed to miss here is this; by paying lower wages, the Chinese (and by extension global corporations like M$), can afford to outbid the rest of the world for energy. Therefore, they still have the ability to "rob Peter to pay Paul" as it were. When in the US and Europe, Peter was tapped out years and years ago by inflated wages.

This is why there will never be another US Steel plant or another holocaust, nobody can afford the gas bill.

Guest said:

exactly. nothing will be done about this.

Guest said:

These "workers" are not forced to work there. It is their choice to work there. So if they choose to work at a place that pays **** and has **** hours then it's their problem.

Guest said:

The photo is a little misleading. From business associates familiar with China, work break

"naps" are common. The article, and the associated photo lead the reader to believe

the women have been worked so hard, they fell asleep..

@ Poster.....From the photo posted' You can see the young girl hidding to make a phone call or receiving a phone call because it's during the work time..this is definitely not during the nap time.If really it is during the nap time you will see everyone sleeping or either relaxing without doing anything because its very common in chinese factories, they cherish their nap time more since that's the only time to relax and do whatever they have to do . There is no way you can cheat nature. there will be an outcome, 'Terrible one'.

Guest said:

Now wait a minute. Why is it being downplayed that the employees belong to a Chinese company called KYE? Why is Microsoft, a client of KYE is being held responsible for this?

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

we are all guilty of this & it's hard to go off without it, i just hope some big companies will have more considerations of the labour side & don't abuse the weak.

i hate it when i have to use a product that's appealing & discover that by my purchase, i helped enslaving a poor human, yet i think they have no choices because of their countries situation.

what can we do? that will remain the question without an answer ...

cheers!

Guest said:

Great question - now look at who's releasing the report...ah the The National Labor Committee...whose interest does it represent...oh right US unions...why are they nailing this on MSFT rather than KYE...ah it's because if they nail KYE MSFT can always find another vendor but if they put pressure on MSFT maybe, just maybe, these mice assembling jobs will come back to US? Or so they think...

Is $0.65 / hour bad? For you and me yes, but I'm guessing it's above the minimum wage in China, or India, or Vietnam, or Philippines... If they raise it to $6.5, then most of these people will have no jobs at all. It is their choice, let them make that decision.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Great question - now look at who's releasing the report...ah the The National Labor Committee...whose interest does it represent...oh right US unions...why are they nailing this on MSFT rather than KYE...ah it's because if they nail KYE MSFT can always find another vendor but if they put pressure on MSFT maybe, just maybe, these mice assembling jobs will come back to US? Or so they think...
That's absolutely not going to happen. The nurses at a local hospital near me went on strike because they thought that $37.00 (!!!!) dollars an hour wasn't enough money. The average US worker is arrogant to the point of being harmful to him or herself. Even the unskilled think that they can command big money for doing next to nothing.... and doing it wrong.

Is $0.65 / hour bad? For you and me yes, but I'm guessing it's above the minimum wage in China, or India, or Vietnam, or Philippines... If they raise it to $6.5, then most of these people will have no jobs at all. It is their choice, let them make that decision.
The people in China seek these jobs out, and are happy to get them. Fact is, it beats squatting in a rice paddy all day for 20 cents an hour. You have ****** in power here that think that you can spend your way out of a recession. China has been around thousands of years longer than the USA, and my money's on them outlasting us. This in spite of whichever imbecile over here happens to be spouting indignities about how China chooses to govern itself, or treats its people..

davidclark425 said:

Microsoft should be held responsible for using KYE to manufacture their products. Contracting the work out to a foreign company does not negate a corporations responsibility to ensure that workers are treated and paid fairly. The notion that .65/hr is a fair wage in china assumes far too much of the dollar as this wage, in the US, would be the equivalent of 4.43/hr. The current minimum wage (federally) in the US is 7.25/hr making the .65/hr roughly 38% below our federal minimum wage when adjusted for exchange rates. even assuming our federal minimum wage as a fair standard of pay, which it is not, .65/hr is a blatant exploitation of those who have been handed the shortest end of the stick of globalization. Looking beyond the wages, and the exploitation of students, there is still the fundamental issue that American corporations using foreign labor is highly advantageous for the corporation and highly detrimental to the people of both nations involved. The separation of production and consumption is a leading cause in the maldistribution of wealth domestically and globally. The bottom line is that KYE should be held responsible for its treatment of employees and Microsoft held responsible for funding the exploitation of workers. If a company cant handle the responsibility of knowing who they are handing the job off to they can manufacture their own products.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.