updated 08:55 am EST, Thu November 24, 2011
Shenzhen tech firms call for labor rights
China Labor Watch reported Thursday that 1,000 workers at a Jingyuan Computer Group plant in Shenzhen briefly went on strike over tough conditions. The staff at the southern China plant, who make keyboards, hard drives, displays, and wireless cameras for companies like Apple and IBM, have complained of working 100 to 120 hours of overtime each per month. They also cite being berated by supervisors, high injury rates, and frequent layoffs for older workers.
Staff went back to work after Jingyuan reportedly agreed to lower overtime hours.
The strike came after a string of other strikes, including 400 at a lingerie factory in the city after a manager suggested one woman "jump off a roof" and 7,000 at a factory making Adidas, New Balance, and Nike sneakers in Dongguan protested pay drops and job cuts.
Workers at Chinese technology plants, most of which are located in southern China, have often had trouble fighting for better working conditions on their own, often relying on outside labor groups and contracting companies' own pressure. Audits by Apple and others haven't eliminated all major problems but have helped influence overall pay increases at Foxconn and others who operate out of China.
Most recently, Apple has been working on reducing pollution at Chinese plants.