Tragedies of Globalization: The Truth Behind Electronics Sweatshops

Jul 12, 2011, 11:13 ET from China Labor Watch

NEW YORK, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- CLW recently completed a 136 page in-depth investigative report examining the electronics manufacturing industry in China.  This report focused on ten Chinese electronics factories that supply electronic products to multinational electronics brand companies, such as Dell, HP, IBM, Apple, HP, and others.  The investigations took place over an eight month period from October 2010 to June 2011 and interviewed a total of 408 workers in Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces.  CLW investigators posed as factory workers to gain access into these factories, interview workers, and assess factory conditions.  The investigation uncovered working conditions and ongoing labor practices at these factories that violated numerous Chinese labor laws and the social responsibility codes of conduct of these multinational electronic brand companies. The majority of these violations can be grouped into five distinct categories relating to overtime hours, wages, level of labor intensity, labor contracts, and recruitment discrimination.  

CLW believes that the inhuman working conditions found in these factories not only reflect severe problems in China's electronic manufacturing industry, but also reveals serious systematic problems in the international electronics industry as a whole.  The profit policy inherent in the global supply chain strategies multinational companies use are a leading factor behind the gross labor abuses found in China's electronics manufacturing industry.  As both multinational brand companies and Chinese manufacturers seek to reduce purchasing and manufacturing costs to the lowest level possible, the safety and well being of Chinese factory workers is sacrificed.  

It is irresponsible of multinational electronic brand companies to continue to promote the ideals of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) when their actions so directly contradict them.  By focusing on the exploitative labor practices of Chinese manufactures and their interconnectedness with the business strategies of multinational corporations, this investigative report puts significant pressure on both parties to reform.  It forces companies to provide factory workers with accessible channels of appeal, multilateral organizations like the United Nations to enhance supervision and regulation, and brand companies to overhaul their CSR auditing methods.  

Left to themselves, multinational companies and Chinese manufactures will continue to pursue business and labor practices that ultimately exploit and abuse Chinese workers.  Only through multilateral participation and effort on apart of multinational companies, Chinese manufactures, labor rights organizations and other NGOs, the United Nations, and local and national governments can any far-reaching reform be attained.  

The full report is available from                        

SOURCE China Labor Watch