Garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested for the third day in a row Monday, calling on their government to raise the minimum wage from about $38 dollars per month to $100. Garment workers often labor up to 80 hours per week. The protests forced the shutdown of hundreds of factories in the industrial Gazipur neighborhood near the capital, Dhaka, where factory owners and government officials called for workers to return to work. Western corporations that rely on Bangladeshi labor to make much of the clothing sold in their stores -- including Walmart, Gap and H&M -- appeared reluctant to comment publicly on the protests. Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district, told AFP that "up to 200,000 workers" had joined the latest demonstrations.
Tag Archives | factories
Chip Starnes, CEO of Specialty Medical Supplies, flew to his company’s factory in China to lay off 30 workers as a first step in shifting production to India, where wages are lower. It is difficult to feel sorry for him regarding what subsequently occurred. Via Libcom:
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Workers at a medical supplies factory in Beijing, China, have taken the owner of the factory hostage. He has been locked in his office for several days, and subject to sleep deprivation techniques. The action was taken following a dispute over unpaid wages and severance pay.
The factory boss, Chip Starnes, visited the factory last week to lay-off thirty workers. He gave them a redundancy payment and then intended on leaving. As soon as the rest of the workers on shift realised what was happening they thought the entire factory was about to close down and barricaded him in his office.
When interviewed, workers also claimed that their action was also due to unpaid wages over the last few months.
It is estimated that some two million factory workers will go on strike nationwide on Wednesday. Al Jazeera's Stepp Vaessen reported from the scene of a strike. "I'm at the biggest industrial zone outside of Jakarta where 800 factories are basically closed down right now because all the workers are standing outside on the streets with banners and motorbikes going around," she said on Wednesday. They are protesting against their working conditions and over the work contacts that they have. They say they don't have any job security and no stability," she said. The workers [are also] protesting against the practice of outsourcing manpower. The Jakarta Globe newspaper reported on its website that the unions were expecting some 2.8 million people to go on strike in 21 districts and municipalities and 80 industrial zones across the country.
About 2,000 Chinese employees of an iPhone assembly company fought a pitched battle into the early hours of Monday, forcing the huge electronics plant where they work to be shut down. Authorities in the northern city of Taiyuan sent 5,000 police to restore order. On Monday evening, paramilitary police with riot shields, helmets and batons guarded one entrance of the massive factory complex, while an announcement over loudspeakers said there had been a criminal incident the night before and urged people to respect the law. Employees and people posting messages online accused factory guards of provoking the trouble by beating up workers at the factory, which is owned by the world's largest contract maker of electronic goods.
The enslavement of teenagers has ramped back up with the rolling out of deadlines for the next generation iPhone. Via the Atlantic Wire:
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The student complaints allege that officials had classes suspended and then bussed them over to Foxconn to work on the upcoming iPhone, interns told Shanghai Daily. Since then, they have worked 12-hour days, six days a week, say some students. “MengniuIQ84 wrote [on Weibo] that the authorities had ordered the schools to send students to assist Foxconn but said that the factory neither informed parents nor signed agreements with students,” according to the Shanghai Daily.
Foxconn isn’t denying any of that, but says nothing is forced since these students have free will to leave. But where would they go? School has been suspended in light of the ramped-up production for the new phone, which Apple will likely announce next week and ship not too longer after that.
Marketplace Shanghai Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz is only the second reporter ever to gain access to visit the factory floor at Apple's Chinese producer Foxconn.
When you walk by a topnotch military rocket factory and notice that there are no guards on duty, it’s an opportunity for fun. A set of unbelievable photos, via Gizmodo:
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Her name is Lana Sator and she snuck into one of NPO Energomash factories outside of Moscow. Her photos are amazing, like sets straight out of Star Wars or Alien. Now the Russian government is harassing her.
It was easy to get in. She just went there, jumped over the fence and got right into the heart of the complex through a series of tunnels and pipes, which was very surprising. After all, this is an active industrial installation that belongs to one of the top manufacturers of liquid-fuel rockets in the world.
And yet, she found nobody. No guards, no security. Nothing. Just a few CCTV cameras here and there in rooms packed with huge machinery.
While some of these zones look decrepit and abandoned, the factory is active.
A subtle form of protest? A mysterious ailment? Workers keep spontaneously fainting en masse at Cambodian clothing factories (where, if you were wondering, they are paid 30 cents an hour to sew clothing for global brands). The Phnom Penh Post reports:
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Another mass fainting incident struck a garment factory yesterday, this time in the provincial capital of Kampong Chhnang where more than 100 workers at M&V factory collapsed, company and union representatives said yesterday. Staff began falling to the factory floor at about 9:00am. A factory supplying sportswear giant Puma was hit by fainting twice this year: at the end of last month and in April.
“We don’t know why they fainted.” Company representative Un Chhan Teak said there was no connection between the mass fainting and working conditions, and that the fainting was a result of shock. After one or two women collapsed, the others panicked and followed suit, he explained.
Remember that Simpsons episode in which Bart is conned into becoming a slave on a French grape farm through an “exchange student” program? The New York Times reports:
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Hundreds of foreign students, waving their fists and shouting defiantly in many languages, walked off their jobs on Wednesday at a plant here that packs Hershey’s chocolates, saying a summer program that was supposed to be a cultural exchange had instead turned them into underpaid labor.
The students, from countries including China, Nigeria, Romania and Ukraine, came to the United States through a long-established State Department summer visa program that allows them to work for two months and then travel. They said they were expecting to practice their English, make some money and learn what life is like in the United States.
In a way, they did. About 400 foreign students were put to work lifting heavy boxes and packing Reese’s candies, Kit-Kats and Almond Joys on a fast-moving production line, many of them on a night shift.