Thursday, 5 April 2012

Low wages

The statistics had shown that the world today has over one billion people are living in poverty, in other words = hungry.

What is one solution from being poor? Get a job?

Getting a job is the most popular reason and solution from being poor but is it really? There are millions of people working and living on less than $1 USD a day. People in poor countries work in sweatshops for companies like Nike that produce all the world's sports gear and workers are paid less than a dollar a day while the company gains the big money. Why does this happen? Why is there an Occupy movement?

During hard times like the recession, it can be hard for a company to keep their factories in the West because of the expensive costs like safety regulations, high quality conditions and average to high wages for workers. So during hard economic times and especially when companies try to viciously compete against each other, if factories remain in the West, companies go bankrupt. Companies have been doing any means necessary to stay in competition even if it mean shifting factories to poor countries and leaving the Western workers redundant.

When companies compete against each other, it's not always one vs one. Some companies compete against more than one. For example

- Apple vs Microsoft (Computers)

- Apple vs Phone companies like Nokia, Motorola (Touch phones and tablets trying to take down the iPhone and iPad)

- Microsoft vs Sony (Console wars - Xbox 360 vs Playstation 3)

- Nike vs Puma vs Adidas, etc (Sports gear)

A Chinese film "China Blue" had shown a sweatshop in action producing jeans while workers got paid less.

One good example of a sweatshop in China is Foxconn. It is a large company having over 150,000 workers like it's a city but is well known in oppressing it's workers. It lied to it's recruits by telling them they will get paid over 1000 RMB a month. Turns out the workers get paid 31 cents (US) per hour while working for 35 hours straight unlike an American electronic worker that earns $23 an hour. There had been reports of workers as young as twelve working in the factory. Anyone trying to form a union in Foxconn is arrested.

Foxconn produces iPhones, iPads, iPods, Playstation 3s and Xbox 360s. A Foxconn worker would have produced a product (eg - microchip for a mobile phone or iPad casings) 2500 times in a 35 hour shift. Completely boring producing the same thing for 35 hours straight. Most workers that do their bit have never seen the final product that is produced. For example - a female worker cuts the Apple shape through the iPad casing and only saw the final product for the first time when an ABC reporter showed it to her.

To keep the workload going in Foxconn, the workers live in Foxconn facilities. Workers sleep in bumks with eight other strangers and eat in a huge canteen. The conditions are a little better than other Asian sweatshops where workers live and eat in horrible conditions. Workers are allowed to go on leave to see their familes once ever two or three months.

Foxconn is well known for it's suicide rates. Because of it's low wages, poor conditions and long hours, eighteen workers jumped off from a high building. There had also been threats of "mass suicides". Foxconn ended up having suicide nets, rooftop watchmen and contracts agreeing to not commit suicide. These suicide rates attracted the world media by storm with all fingers pointing at Apple as they already have more money than the US while Foxconn workers get paid only a few pennies. In other words, your iPhone, iPad or Xbox 360 is from a factory with horrible oppression towards it's workers. Also a similar situation when you buy Nike products too.