Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"The Dark Side Of Cyberspace: Chinese Labor Conditions And Your Motherboard"

Yesterday we went to the presentation of two NGOs, WEED and SACOM, who are on tour to make people across Europe aware of the awful working conditions in the Chinese computer industry. They released a study called The Dark Side Of Cyberspace.
Computer hardware for almost all companies is produced in Chinese sweatshops. Their laborers work about twice the amount of hours that are LEGAL in China, sometimes they even don't get contracts, even if that is the law, too.
There is absolutely no healthcare and no safety regulations at work. The two case studies focused on EXCELSIOR ELECTRONICS and COMPEQ TECHNOLOGY who provide material for companies like DELL, LENOVO and FUJITSU SIEMENS COMPUTERS. APPLE, NOKIA, SONY, AMD and MOTOROLA are said to be supplied by those companies as well. INTEL rejected the relationship, even though they are directly supplied by EXCELSIOR according to this study.

This is what the researchers found out:

"Excelsior Electronics is a supplier of motherboards, chipsets, and graphic cards to Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Intel, AMD and other IT multinationals. During peak production periods overtime work hours routinely exceed the legal limits (up to 370 hours in total in a month). Worse yet, workers are not insured against illness or industrial diseases, despite their exposure to dangerous chemicals.
According to the Labour Contract Law, a labour contract must be negotiated and consented to by the worker and his or her employment unit. The labour contract comes into effect when the worker and the employment unit each signs or affixes a seal upon copies of the contract. The employment unit and the worker shall each retain a copy of the labour contract. Excelsior workers, nevertheless, are not given their copies.
At the time of massive layoffs, Excelsior workers reported that they have difficulties to claim their legitimate compensations."

The NGOs are asking especially public institutions and organisations who buy more hardware than private persons to check back on what they buy. It is in their responsibility as well.

It is in our responsibility to spread the word.

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