China, the Sweatshop
Posted by Author on July 5, 2010
Editorial, The New York Times, July 5, 2010 –
The labor strife spreading through China’s factory cities has clearly frazzled the government. Last month, it deployed Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, a k a “Grandpa Wen,” who told laborers at a Beijing subway station that the government and society “should treat migrant workers as they would their own children.”
China’s exploited workers don’t need an extra parent. They need higher wages, better working conditions and a chance to form independent unions. They need China to stop being sweatshop to the world.
Worker unrest has spread after reports of suicides at two campuses in southern China owned by Foxconn Technology, an electronics maker that employs 800,000 people in China who assemble products and parts for Western companies, including Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Since May 17, workers struck at three Chinese plants that make transmissions, exhausts and locks for Honda, the Japanese carmaker. There also have been reports of labor action in dozens of other factories.
Working conditions in too many of these factories are dismal, and the pay is, too. At the Pingdingshan Cotton Textile Company, The Toronto Star reported, workers make 65 cents an hour, working grueling two-day shifts, often in 100-plus degree heat. Workers at Honda Lock demanded a 70 percent raise from their $132-a-month wage. There are no independent unions allowed……. (more details from The New York Times)
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