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Chinese Microsoft workers
04-17-2010, 10:01 AM,
Chinese Microsoft workers
The image Microsoft doesn't want you to see: Too tired to stay awake, the Chinese workers earning just 34p an hour.

Showing Chinese sweatshop workers slumped over their desks with exhaustion, it is an image that Microsoft won't want the world to see.

Employed for gruelling 15-hour shifts, in appalling conditions and 86f heat, many fall asleep on their stations during their meagre ten-minute breaks.

For as little as 34p an hour, the men and women work six or seven days a week, making computer mice and web cams for the American multinational computer company.

[Image: article-1266643-092AF3A2000005DC-426_634x777.jpg]

This photo and others like it were smuggled out of the KYE Systems factory at Dongguan, China, as part of a three-year investigation by the National Labour Committee, a human rights organisation which campaigns for workers across the globe.

The mostly female workers, aged 18 to 25, work from 7.45am to 10.55pm, sometimes with 1,000 workers crammed into one 105ft by 105ft room.

They are not allowed to talk or listen to music, are forced to eat substandard meals from the factory cafeterias, have no bathroom breaks during their shifts and must clean the toilets as discipline, according to the NLC.

The workers also sleep on site, in factory dormitories, with 14 workers to a room. They must buy their own mattresses and bedding, or else sleep on 28in-wide plywood boards. They 'shower' with a sponge and a bucket.

And many of the workers, because they are young women, are regularly sexually harassed, the NLC claimed.

The organisation said that one worker was even fined for losing his finger while operating a hole punch press.

Microsoft is not the only company to outsource manufacturing to KYE, but it accounts for about 30 per cent of the factory's work, the NLC said. Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech and Asus also use KYE Systems.

Microsoft, which exports much of the hardware made at the factory to America, Europe and Japan, said that it is taking the claims seriously and has begun an investigation.

One employee told the NLC: 'We are like prisoners. It seems like we live only to work - we do not work to live. We do not live a life, only work.'

The NLC's report included an account from one worker whose job consisted entirely of sticking selfadhesive rubber feet to the bottom of Microsoft computer mice.

But the monotony of sitting or standing for 12 hours, applying foot after foot to mouse after mouse, was not the worst of the worker's testimony.

It was the militaristic management and sleep deprivation that affected the worker most. 'I know I can choose not to work overtime, but if I don't work overtime then I am stuck with only 770 Chinese yuan (£72.77p) per month in basic wages,' the worker said.

'This is not nearly enough to support a family. My parents are farmers without jobs. They also do not have pensions.

'I also need to worry about getting married, which requires a lot of money. Therefore, I still push myself to continue working in spite of my exhaustion.

'When I finish my four hours of overtime, I'm extremely tired. At that time, even if someone offered me an extravagant dinner, I'd probably refuse. I just want to sleep.'

Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the NLC, said: 'It sounded like torture - the frantic pace on the assembly line, same motion over and over for the 12 hours or more of work they did.'

Microsoft said it was committed to the 'fair treatment and safety of workers'. A spokesman added: 'We are aware of the NLC report and we have commenced an investigation.

'We take these claims seriously and we will take appropriate remedial measures in regard to any findings of misconduct.'
“Everything Popular Is Wrong” - Oscar Wilde
04-05-2011, 09:53 AM,
RE: Chinese Microsoft workers
Sounds like life closer to home .. and it's coming up fast.

People I know either:

* Work two or more jobs 60+ hours per week
* Work on the oil rigs up north for weeks on end
* Share Accommodation with 2 or more people
* Deal in off board transactions
* Own a profitable company with 10+ employees
* Got a nice nest egg playing the home flipping game and are living off of that now
* Are on gold plated social programs and are in subsidized housing
* Are from richer families that can pick them up when bills start to pile up
* Have big child support/alimony payments as income
* Work for the government (and only 1/2 of those)
* WWII Veterans with decent retirement savings
* Living off of student loans (for now)
* Those with 2 parent families have 3+ incomes (or some combination of the above)
* Living on the street/ couch surfing
* In jail

Working for the man, or any man for that matter doesn't put food on the table or you don't have a table for your food.

Private sector employment with no ties to government is becoming a near impossible pittance to live off of.

5 years ago I could get by on 1/2 of what I need now to stay above water.

A single average normal job just does not cut it anymore in my neck of the woods and Albertans are supposed to be among the highest income earners on the planet.

Mind you The average home is $350K (+ Property tax is ~$1800 year) and you're looking at ~$800 utilities and ~$700 food bills every month for a single. Being from an oil producing province doesn't amount to much we pay $1.08/litre, that's 0.79 EUR/litre or $4.22 USD per gallon at current exchange rates.

No wonder the birth rate is down. Children are pricey. Every boy and girl has an X-Box (with a Live account), an iPod, an iPhone, a computer, a bike, skis, skates, [insert current trendy toy here], a car (most @16), designer clothes, jackets and kicks and $50 in their pocket at all times to spend on movies, amusement parks, fast food (now served in schools) and weed - and very few of them work.

Then you have school fees and sports fees on top of all that.

In North America we have a lot of jobs that don't really produce anything other than keep us busy. Finance, advertising, a lot of the media industry especially Hollywood, bureaucrats, WAL-Mart greeters, psychologists, drug companies (a big part of it), a lot of legal and enforcement jobs that are simply red tape or cash grabs.

People used to raise their children, now there is pre-school, K-12 college, sports, video games, TVs, iGadgets and malls while mom works to pay for all that. Communities used to raise gangs of children, they used to raise eachother too. Now they are being raised by the state and the media.

Our elders used to live with or at least near their families now we pay for old folks' homes.

Diseases of all kinds have taken their toll and now we pay for that when we buy instead of cook and grow our own food and even get them shipped in from distant lands.

Same with manufacturing. Now even engineering, information and advanced skill is an internationally co-dependently traded commodity when once home grown, nurtured and shared. With that you get the same hoarding and funnelling. The same compartmentalization and protectionism.

With economic strength you buy more do less and real prosperity suffers as a result the more money is used as a crutch. Same bodes true with anything else that is commoditized and then monopolized by either the corporation or the state which eventually merge to one and the same as we see evidenced today. This includes food, energy, skills, and labour too.

There comes a threshold where real value is created and given freely not marketed, bought and sold. We're way past that.
There are no others, there is only us.

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