Several days after the National Labor Committee reported that one of Microsoft’s suppliers was maltreating its underage, overworked employees, the Chinese authorities have weighed in, accusing two companies of violating local labor laws. The Dongguan Municipal Human Resources Bureau has named Kunying Computer Products and Xieying Computer Products, units at the KYE plant in Dongguan City, as having failed to register its 16- to 18-year-old workers, and making them work “excessive” overtime.
If the situation is not resolved, the DMHRB says that the firm, KYE Systems Inc., will suffer the consequences. A spokesperson for KYE, however, claimed that the NLC report was an exaggeration.
According to the New York Times:
Dongguan officials said Monday that about 326 workers, ages 16 to 18, were not registered with local authorities. They also said that in March, workers on production lines at the two companies worked, on average, about 280 hours each–far exceeding the 196 hour maximum allowed by law.
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.
Aside from some inconsistencies in that part of the statement–the EICC does not have Dongguan-specific regulations, for example, and insists workweeks be limited to 60 hours internationally–the Dongguan Municipal Human Resources Bureau’s findings directly contradict what was reported to Microsoft. The Redmond-based firm also stated that a team of independent auditors was en route to the plant in order to make an inspection on working conditions.
Microsoft pledged after the inspection to “take all appropriate steps to ensure the fair treatment of the KYE workers,” but with more evidence mounting that its own monitoring was flawed, we’re curious to know what those appropriate steps will be–both with KYE and its own oversight.
Microsoft did not have any new comment to add yet, but the company continues to look into the situation at the KYE factory for itself.