Planning to buy some fancy new hardware by Apple, Fujitsu Siemens, Dell, Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia or Sony? Well, think again! Did you ever wonder why electronics are so cheap, and getting cheaper by the day? Yes, new materials, more efficient production lines, higher number of items — but what about the people putting the parts together, doing the dull work that can not be automated?
The dark side of cyberspace is not the name of a new fiction by William Gibson, but a very real report about sweatshop labour at Chinese production facilities for consumer electronic brands — published yesterday by Berlin-based WEED (World Economy, Ecology & Development) and Hongkong’s SACOM (Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour).
Apart from details about workers’ conditions and statistical facts the report contains various photos from inside the plants, secretly taken by the researchers and the interviewed workers. Read the report summary or download the full report (PDF, 1 MB) and see for yourself.
So, what to do? It is hard to avoid those brands, and even companies not producing at the factories mentioned in the report are likely to cut costs by buying extremely cheap labour. Currently there does not seem to be a way out. :-O Or is there?