A number of photos taken by a group called the National Labor Committee show images of workers sleeping at their work tables in one of Microsoft’s factories in Dongguan, china. These photos were smuggled out of the sweatshop style factory and form part of a 3 year investigation into the treatment of Chinese workers by large corporations. This is not the first time that a large multi national company has been faced with charges verging on human rights violations, other well known brands such as Nike and Reebok have had to fight the backlash after similar claims were made against them.
Apparently, workers aged 18 – 25 were employed for 15 hour shifts, 7am till 10pm at around 20 cents an hour seven days a week. Each day over 1,000 men and women would come to work in a sweltering hot 105ft x 105ft office space to construct optical mouse units for Microsoft, they believe the reason that the workers were sleeping was due to the high temperatures and lack of any cooling system. The company that offers their work force skills is called KYE, who not only provide its low cost electronic construction services to Microsoft, but is a popular client of Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech and Asus.
This type of complaint is nothing new and has been going on for years, the business model is well used, outsource to lesser developed countries with low production costs and sell high back at home. Microsoft is a huge company with very deep pockets, which will more than likely keep this little incident from becoming more than a slight annoyance, a few months later and it will all be swept under the rug.