Cina: Nuovo Rapporto sulle condizioni dei lavoratori

Un rapporto su sei aziende nella provincia di Guangdong in Cina denuncia che migliaia di dipendenti lavorano duramente e il personale viene sfruttato nelle fabbriche di propietà del gigante americano Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR).Scarica qui il Rapporto in inglese

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Investment that creates workers’ misery and poverty; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR)

Thousands of miles away from United States, thousands of workers toil away in sweatshops in the Guangdong province, making products for companies owned by US private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR).

“Clearly the recent economic crisis has influenced the American people’s lives, but I can only expect that the lives of Chinese workers who are employed under KKR-owned companies to be much worse”, says Li Qiang, Executive Director of China Labor Watch (CLW). Li adds, “KKR’s growth relies on the cheap price of the products produced by companies under its wing”.

In order to extend its growth, the private equity gave its suppliers low price to manufacture products while disregard how the suppliers produce the products. This strategy, however, is not sustainable; instead, it puts KKR’s investors at more risk. Paying suppliers at a low price does indeed give an immediate return; cheap products priced in the US market will encourage consumers to purchase more”. However, low prices also create an incentive for suppliers to cheat on labor standards and on materials required to manufacture the product. If the product malfunctions or is tainted and harms the consumers in any way, it is not something low prices or discounts can convalesce.

“ As the economy worsens, I fear that KKR will request for even lower cost and demand much more productivity from workers than before, which will drive workers into deeper poverty”, Li suggests.

The following subcontractors were researched as part of this project:

Dollar General

* K-Mate factory: K-Mate is located in Zhongshan, and employs around 400 workers. It manufactures small electronics such as Bluetooth products, cell phone accessories, iPod accessories, etc. Workers reported that the chemicals seeped through their gloves and caused the skin on their hands to peel off. When workers requested face masks to avoid breathing in the fumes from some of the chemicals, their request was denied.

Images: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnnh9HHvmqg

* Xingchan Plastic factory: Xingchan is located in Shenzhen and employs about 700-800 workers. It manufactures plastic products. Workers say the workshops are extremely hot and unsanitary. The floor is covered with grease and water.

Images: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMU5BlZ9n2o

* Debao Plastic factory: Debao is also located in Dongguan, and employs around 800 workers. It manufacturers commodities such as plastic utensils, wine bottle containers, notebooks, paper boxes, stickers, and handbags. At Debao, workers have to work at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Images: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk_NGaFkJB8

•  Daxing (Dongguan) Decoration factory: This factory has roughly 1,800 workers and makes candles and Christmas lights. At Daxing, workers’ normal shift is eight hour a day, seven days a week.

Images: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YerBTrT7W_w

Masonite Doors

* Stanley Hardware factory and Stanley Tools factory: Both of these factories are based in Zhongshan. Stanley manufactures bolts that are used in Masonite doors. Masonite is a KKR portfolio company. Workers are issued a meal card to use in the cafeteria. Workers who refuse to follow orders have anywhere from one to 14 meals deducted from their meal card.

Images: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2cZi4tzmZE

Tianrei Cement

* Tianrei Corporation: a cement corporation owned by KKR in Henan Province . One-third of Tianrei’s workforce is temporary. These workers make only 600 yuan a month and are not entitled to any overtime pay or paid time off

Images: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E71ux8edbI

China Labor Watch is calling on KKR to take immediate action to improve the conditions at these six factories and all of its Chinese suppliers. KKR must begin investing ethically to prevent unsustainable development and ensure its suppliers are obeying labor law and also pay its supplier factories reasonable prices so that low prices do not provide incentives for suppliers to cheat workers and materials used for production.

By China Labour Watch

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