The Shockingly Horrid Labor Conditions For Chinese Workers At Dell Suppliers In China Revealed
Dell Computers is under fire as a report has surfaced regarding allegedly horrid working conditions at four of its suppliers Chinese factories. According to DanWatch and China Labor Watch, the conditions violate China’s laws regarding labor, including the labor laws protecting the Chinese minimum wage.
Workers at Dell’s partner factories have been recorded on video by DanWatch representatives, who went into them undercover to expose the appalling state of affairs. The video records are extremely disturbing as rancid dormitories and overcrowded restrooms are exposed to the public eye.
Long Hours & Illegal Wages
Employees in the factories, located in three cities are allegedly forced to work long 12 hour shifts, sometimes 7 days a week. Many employees regularly log 74 hours per week on the clock, and the report shows that they are extremely under-compensated.
Workers make a mere 66p per hour in some cases, which is well below the standard minimum wage set by China’s government, according to DanWatch. Workers are required to work up to 4 hours of overtime every day, and if they make a mistake, they are docked for it.
One worker in particular, Zhao Lily, who is just 18, explained to the investigators that she and her co-workers all live, work and eat in the same dormitory on the campus of the MSI factory in Shenzhen City. She said, “Because of the welding, the temperature is uncomfortably high and the smell is toxic. We don’t get mouth protection and I get skin irritation if I touch my face at work.”
Rancid Living Conditions
The investigators found that at the Mingshuo factory in Suzhou City there was only one bathroom stall for every 55 workers, while showers were even more scarce, with one per 90 workers provided to employees. According to the report, 272 workers all shared a single, coin-operated washing machine for their laundry.
Harsh Working Environment
Workers in the factories in Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces are forced to breathe harsh chemical fumes throughout the workday, as ventilation is poor in the factories. According to the workers who weld circuit boards, they suffer from constant skin irritation from exposure to the electronic components.
According to a spokesman for Dell Computers, the company was already conducting internal audits of the factories in question. He assured the public that Dell will take steps to right the wrongs found in the factories.
The company released a statement regarding the alleged mistreatment that says, “Dell employs high standards for workplace conditions and safety in our facilities and we expect our supplier partners to employ the same high standards. It is also our policy to thoroughly investigate and take appropriate action regarding any reports of poor working conditions in our supply chain.”
DanWatch says that Dell’s suppliers are in direct violation of Chinese labor laws, and also show complete disregard for the computer company’s internal policies. According to Eva Hesse Lundstrom, the editor of DanWatch, “Our research shows that the conditions at Dell’s suppliers violate ILO conventions and Chinese labor law as well as Dells own policy.” She also said, “When companies compete on supplying computers in the cheapest way possible, and when our public buyers aim for the cheapest wares on the market, a high human cost is paid.”
While Dell is taking major heat for the conditions at these factories, it is important to note that these suppliers also provide parts for Samsung, Hewlett Packard, ASUS, and Microsoft. If the allegations are true, then each of these companies should take responsibility for the actions of its suppliers. The investigation focused on Dell because the Danish government is supplied with computers by Dell and DanWatch is a Danish based organization.