Linked by David Adams on Wed 17th Dec 2008 17:15 UTC, submitted by Michael
In the News In a muckraking article, suppliers to well-known computer manufacturers are accused of mistreating workers and violating Chinese labor law: "According to a Hong-Kong based human rights organization, working hours total up to 370 hours per month, workers aren't receiving the legal minimum wage and in the run-up to Christmas, days off are cut out entirely." One of the reasons that high tech hardware has become so widespread and useful is because it's so inexpensive. As this article demonstrates, this affordability can come at a price.
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Comment by miles
by miles on Wed 17th Dec 2008 19:09 UTC
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The manufacturers like Fujitsu, Dell, Sony (all mentioned in the article), and others are the main responsible.

Companies yearly send inspectors to check the factories abide by the law, and it's really easy to see when human rights aren't respected (a friend of mine worked as a translator for these inspections, and the inspector did a good job spotting the problems, which wasn't hard at all). So all these companies already know the situation (and if they were to stop sending inspectors now, that would be for an obvious reason...).

In these case they can break their contracts, or threaten to do so, even leaving lots of products unpaid. The factory has zero interest ignoring the requests, since they can loose huge amount of money (and any other factory would be happy to get the contracts). Overtime hours, unpaid salary all only go in a few pockets, it's not so much a necessity for low cost production as it is to make a few people richer.

So yes, there's a message that can be sent by consumers. The same companies that actively search for means to reach you with their publicity care also about your opinion and their own image (Dell even has an Ideastorm, but they all have a forum). So it only cost an email, then a copy/paste in one of the manufacturer public forums.

Edited 2008-12-17 19:12 UTC

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