The latest phase of the campaign to improve wages and working conditions for Chinese workers at Foxconn is a model for concerted international solidarity action. A joint press statement by the Hong Kong-based Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), the Dutch-based international solidarity networks GoodElectronics and makeITfair, Bread for All (the Swiss Protestant Development Service), and the global International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF) released SACOM's new investigative report "Workers as Machines: Foxconn's Military Management."
The detailed 24-page report delves deeply into the background behind the suicides of dozens of young workers at Foxconn's giant electronics assembly plants in Shenzhen. It is the product of a remarkable collaboration of a research team of more than 60 students and teachers from twenty universities in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which investigated conditions at Foxconn's production facilities in nine Chinese cities from May through September 2010. Their investigative report was released in Chinese on 9 October.
The joint press release and full English-language text of SACOM's report are available on the SACOM website at http://sacom.hk/archives/720 and on the IMF website at
Foxconn has already issued a media statement trying to rebut the report, and promising wage increases and reforms of certain abuses. TheTaiwanese company is the largest global manufacturer of electronic goods, supplying Apple, Nokia,HP, Dell and other companies. In 2009 its global market share of the entire electronics manufacture and services industry was 44%. It employs 900,000 workers in China, including 420,000 at two giant industrial complexes in Shenzhen, where the suicides occurred.
Foxconn's profit margins are relatively thin, and its corresponding ability to pay more adequate wages in China is constrained by the unwillingness of the global electronics brand name companies to allocate enough money to the costs of assembling their products. In the long run, achieving decent wages and conditions for millions of electronics assembly workers in China and elsewhere demand consumer campaigns in developed countries to require electronic transnationals to reduce their considerable profits and raise retail prices for their final products.
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