China factories break labor rules

Apr 19, 2010 By WILLIAM FOREMAN , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Two factories that make Microsoft Corp. products in southern China violated overtime regulations and failed to properly register the use of workers aged 16 to 18, officials said Monday.

The problems at the plants in the city of Dongguan were initially raised last week by the National Labor Committee, a New York-based nonprofit that monitors the treatment of foreign workers by U.S. companies. The group alleged that the teen laborers worked long shifts and were not allowed to use bathrooms during working hours at the plants, owned by Taiwan-based KYE Systems Corp.

The make Webcams, computer mice and Xbox controllers for , the world's biggest software company.

Investigators with Dongguan's human resources bureau said in a report that factories are allowed to hire workers between the ages of 16 and 18 as long as the laborers are registered with the authorities. The KYE factories had 385 such workers - most supplied by vocational schools - and 326 weren't properly registered, the report said.

Employees were also forced to work an excessive amount of overtime in March, clocking about 280 hours, the report said. Copies of the labor contract also weren't given to employees, the document said.

But officials said that based on interviews with workers, there were no restrictions against using the restroom during shifts. The report said the company's policy was to give workers 10-minute breaks for every two hours worked.

KYE Systems Corp. spokesman Lai Jin-hui told The Associated Press, "Assembly line workers are allowed to go to bathroom only if they report the need."

Lai insisted that factories did nothing wrong regarding overtime and had followed regulations that limit the workweek to 60 hours. But Lai acknowledged that the factories failed to properly register and would now fix the problem.

The human resources bureau report said the factories have been ordered to comply with the law and would be monitored closely.

Last week, Microsoft said it does quarterly onsite assessments and gets weekly reports from KYE about certain labor and safety criteria. The software maker said a team of independent auditors would visit the factories and monitor the situation pending results of its inspection.

Explore further: Jury says Silicon Valley firm did not discriminate (Update)

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

AT&T-union negotiations expected down to the wire

Apr 03, 2009

(AP) -- Negotiators for AT&T Inc. and union officials representing 112,500 employees said Friday they expect to bargain into the weekend on five labor contracts that expire Saturday night.

Recommended for you

Intel in talks with Altera on tie-up

Mar 27, 2015

US tech giant Intel is in talks with rival Altera on a tie-up to broaden the chipmaker's product line amid growth in Internet-connected devices, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Apple chief Cook to give his wealth away: Fortune

Mar 27, 2015

Apple chief Tim Cook is joining Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and other technology titans who have vowed to donate their wealth to charities, according to a report in Fortune magazine.

BlackBerry tops 4Q profit forecasts

Mar 27, 2015

BlackBerry posted a surprise profit in the fourth quarter, but saw a sharp drop-off in revenue as the once-iconic smartphone company said it reached the halfway mark of its turnaround effort.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.