This video says about itself:
19 April 2010 — Microsoft has announced it is investigating reports that a factory manufacturing its products in China is forcing teenagers to work 15 hour shifts in sweatshop conditions.
A investigation by the US based National Labour Committee found that workers at the KYE factory, a producer of webcams and mice for Microsoft, were being ill-treated.
The report claims that the workers were forced to sleep 14 to a room and wash in a bucket.
They then had to work long shifts in high temperatures and under strict conditions, all for very little pay.
Microsoft says that while they were not previously aware of any problems at the factory they would take ‘appropriate action’ if necessary.
From British daily The Morning Star:
Microsoft bosses told ‘child slavery’ must end
Monday 19 April 2010
by Tom Mellen
Investigators found 385 underage workers toiling at the factory
Beijing has given bosses at two Chinese factories contracted by computing giant Microsoft a week to rectify their “illegal practices” after they were found guilty of trampling young workers’ rights.
The state-owned China Daily quoted Dongguan Human Resources Bureau (DHRB) officials on Monday as saying that KYE Systems management had presided over illegal and inhuman working conditions at its Kunying and Xieying facilities.
The two sites employ 4,000 workers manufacturing webcams, computer mice and video game controllers for the world’s biggest software company and others including Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Acer, Logitech and Asus.
The DHRB launched an investigation into conditions at the factories after the New York-based non-profit National Labour Committee (NLC) published a report last week accusing Microsoft of super-exploiting teenagers as “slave labour.”
The NLC report alleged that workers aged 16 and 17 worked 15 hour shifts six and seven days a week for just 37p an hour.
And it charged that youngsters on the production line were not allowed to talk or use the toilet.
Chinese law prohibits employers from employing people under the age of 16.
Bosses are only allowed to employ “underage workers” – workers aged 16 to 18 – if they register the practice with the local labour administration authority.
DHRB official Xie Yanfang said that investigators did not find any evidence proving the two factories had employed any child labourer younger than 16.
But Ms Xie said the DHRB probe had established that managers had indulged in “some illegal labour practices.”
Investigators found that 385 underage workers from secondary schools at Sichuan and Guizhou provinces toiled at the facilities – 326 of whom had not been registered with the local labour administration.
Managers had also failed to give employees a copy of their labour contract and forced them to work excessive overtime, she said, noting that workers on the production line were forced to work an average of 280 hours in March.
Ms Xie declared that KYE bosses “have been ordered to rectify these illegal practices within a week, or they will be fined or face other administrative penalties in accordance with the law.
“We’ll closely follow the factories’ rectification to safeguard the lawful rights of workers,” she vowed.
In how many other countries do Microsoft and other big corporations make similar profits by exploiting teenage (or even younger) workers? What will authorities there do about it?
Bill Gates of Microsoft is often considered to be the richest man in the world. How will people like pop star Bono, promoting Bill Gates as an honest kind-hearted anti-poverty fighter, react to this scandal?