Microsoft promises investigation into child labour abuses

Microsoft says that it is sending a team to the Chinese factory accused of treating teenagers like prisoners in the name of making Microsoft products.

In a post by corporate vice president of manufacturing Brian Tobey, he said that Redmond was “very concerned” at seeing the report, which said that codes of practice were being broken at the KYE factory in Dongguan.

He said: “As a result of this report, we have a team of independent auditors en route to the facility to conduct a complete and thorough investigation. If we find that the factory is not adhering to our standards, we will take appropriate action.”

Tobey claimed that an independent auditor was supposed to be inspecting the KYE factory annually, with Microsoft personnel conducting on-site assessments, receiving weekly reports from KYE on key labour and safety criteria.

He said: “Over the past two years, we have required documentation and verification of worker age, and no incidence of child labor has been detected.”

“Worker overtime has been significantly reduced, and worker compensation is in line with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition standards for the Dongguan area.”

The NLC believes that this was a nonsense, and that companies like HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Acer and Asus knew exactly what was going on. 

As TechEye ed Mike Magee believes, vendors are “driven by an insatiable need to cut costs at any price, to stay competitive and to keep their shareholders happy”. 

He adds: “Considerations about employee conditions in a far away country are of little importance to multinational corporations. Corporations, by and large,  are not individuals and they don’t have feelings. 

“They’re the equivalent of sociopaths and, like them, offer a pretence of being caring and sharing, bolstered by glossy brochures, big public relations outfits and connections with governments at the highest levels.”