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© China Labor Watch Analysis | May 13, 2014

Sony leaves, but Quanta stays

In the beginning of 2014, Sony announced it was selling its laptop business to a Japanese investment fund. An interesting point - worth further investigation - for non-profit organisation China Labor Watch.
True, the investigation was conducted prior to the sales announcement. An undercover investigator worked at the factory during August and September 2013 to observe labor conditions firsthand and interview workers. A separate investigator also carried out worker interviews around the factory.

The CLW undercover investigation of a Quanta Computers factory in Shanghai, China that manufactures computers for Sony, Apple, Dell, and HP has exposed 15 sets of labor violations, including more than USD 1.8 million in monthly unpaid overtime; mandatory overtime hours more than two times in excess of statutory limits; illegally insufficient training, including only 10 minutes of safety training; illegal hiring discrimination; excessive use of dispatch workers; wage delays; poor-quality dorms with 12 people per room; insufficient safety equipment; abusive management; a lack of effective grievance channels, and more.

CLW’s undercover investigation of Quanta Shanghai Manufacturing City revealed that during peak seasons, workers must accept 80 or more hours of overtime per month, two times in excess of Chinese legal limits. On top of this, workers were required to attend meetings before and after their shifts that added up to 30 or more minutes of unpaid overtime per day per worker. With 60,000 workers, the factory may be failing to pay its workers more than USD 1.8 million per month during peak seasons.

The large majority of workers at the Quanta factory were dispatch workers, who had to pay illegal fees to be hired and signed contracts with the dispatch companies instead of the factory. This system of third-party labor contractors is so prone to abuse that a new Chinese law (which came into effect on March 1, 2014) will limit the percentage of dispatch workers at any given employer to no more than 10 percent.

The Quanta factory is also riddled with safety concerns, including inadequate pre-job physical exams, only 10 minutes of safety-related training before workers take their posts, and insufficient protective equipment. This is despite production facilities being full of dust, laser radiation, and various kinds of harmful chemicals, including toluene, formaldehyde, lead smoke, ethanolamine, butanone, isopropyl, and carbon dioxide.

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