The working conditions of those all over the world has been a hot topic over the years, as reports are issued more often than they should be regarding underage, underpaid, and overworked employees. The trouble is, these employees are always tied to the things we buy here in the States, most notably the electronics, gadgets, and pieces of tech we employ every day (and love so much). In the case of KYE Factory, this latest report from the National Labor Committe is much like all the others: abysmal work conditions, and even worse payment plans for those that create the things that have become so integral to people’s lives.
With this latest report from the National Labor Committee, which details the working conditions of those employed with the KYE Factory in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China, there’s a plethora of tech-based companies caught up in the mess. ASUS, HP, Best Buy, Samsung, and Foxconn are just some of the companies that utilize KYE Factory to manufacture outsourced products. However, the biggest name looks to be Microsoft, where the Redmond-based company uses the factory to manufacture its mice. The report, unfortunately, outlines how the factory aims to employ teenagers, usually between the age of 16 to 17, and make them work extraneous hours, which can reach up to 15 hours a day, every day of the week. Some workers are even told to stay in their working areas, even if they do not have work to do.
Additionally, the report details how the factory almost always employs women, under the age of 25, because they are easier to control. The factory is said to use a “work study” program for these employed teenagers, and have even managed to employ students that are only 14 and 15 years old. On top of everything else, the workers are provided with only 65 cents per hour, and the meals that they eat in the work compound are not included, which means the take-home income equals about 52 cents an hour.
Right at the top of the report, there is a quote from one of the workers, saying that they are “like prisoners,” and that they do not have a life, but only work. Not surprisingly, the KYE Factory in China has stated that it is socially responsible, and has denied the claims presented by the NLC’s report. While Microsoft, on the other hand, has not out-right denied the claims, but has stated that they are launching an investigation into the matter. The other companies, some of which were listed above, have not commented on the new charges implicated by the NLC. It’s illegal for companies to hire underage workers, and to work them so exhaustively, but obviously companies either lie about their employees’ age and circumstances, or the law is not being fully enforced in certain areas. Hopefully, more monitoring services can be implanted in troubling areas, so situations such as this can be easily taken care of, and in a faster fashion.