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Microsoft workers in China: ‘We are like prisoners’

Posted by Author on April 14, 2010

Digitaljournal.com –

A Chinese factory making Microsoft peripherals violates every single labor law in China, according to a new report from the National Labor Committee. KYE factory workers toil away 12 hours a day Monday through Friday and earn 43 cents an hour.

Dongguan, China – “We are like prisoners,” one worker at KYE Factory told the NLC, according to the report. “It seems like we live only to work. We do not work to live. We do not live a life, only work.”

That is one of the many statements casting a cloud over Microsoft’s labor practices. Microsoft has been outsourcing production to the KYE factory since at least 2003, the NLC found, and the factory often makes peripherals such as mice, keyboards and webcams.

Released yesterday, NLC’s report titled China’s Youth Meet Microsoft explains daily working conditions:

Twenty or thirty workers on a line must complete 2,000 Microsoft mice in 12 hours. The workers’ hands and fingers are constantly moving, many suffering abrasions and cuts, since the connectors must be inserted very closely together.

The report goes on to quote several workers, who offer an inside perspective on working at KYE in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China. One employee states: “We are ordered around and told what to do and what not to do. No one in management has ever asked us about anything. There is no discussion. You feel no respect.”

What about shifts? Fifteen-hour shifts are not uncommon, the report alleges, and staff are “prohibited from talking, listening to music or using the bathroom during working hours.”

The report, compiled with interviews and photographs from the past three years, found that the majority of KYE’s 2,000 workers were between 16 and 18 years old……. (more details from digitaljournal.com)

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