A report by the National Labor Council reveals the working conditions at keyboard factory Meitai in Dongguan City, China aren't too good. This firm makes keyboards for major IT players like Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Lenovo, HP, and others.
Here's a snip from the report:
Workers are prohibited from talking, listening to music, raising their heads, putting their hands in their pockets. Workers are fined for being one minute late, for not trimming their fingernails-which could impede the work, and for stepping on the grass. Workers are searched on the way in and out of the factory. Workers who hand out flyers or discuss factory conditions with outsiders are fired.
The assembly line never stops, and workers needing to use the bathroom must learn to hold it until there is a break.
All overtime is mandatory, with 12-hour shifts seven days a week and an average of two days off a month. A worker daring to take a Sunday off-which is supposedly their weekly holiday-will be docked 2 ½ days' wages. Including unpaid overtime, workers are at the factory up to 87 hours a week. On average, they are at the factory 81 hours a week, while toiling 74 hours, including 34 hours of overtime, which exceeds China's legal limit by 318 percent!
The workers are paid a base wage of 64 cents an hour, which does not even come close to meeting subsistence level needs. After deductions for primitive room and board, the workers' take-home wage drops to just 41 cents an hour. A worker toiling 75 hours a week will earn a take-home wage of $57.19, or 76 cents an hour including overtime and bonuses. The workers are routinely cheated of 14 to 19 percent of the wages legally due them.