Amazon - a new slavery?

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mercalia
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Joined: 22 Sep 2013, 10:03pm
Location: london South

Amazon - a new slavery?

Postby mercalia » 10 Jun 2018, 11:52am

The story of Alexa.
"Alexa looks much like the other young women around her, but she has a secret. Alexa has been sent in undercover by the US-based labour rights investigator China Labor Watch to find out what is going on behind the security gate. It is the first time anyone has investigated Amazon’s production lines, and CLW has teamed up with the Observer (and the Sunday Mirror) to publish the findings. Its own report – Amazon Profits from Secretly Oppressing its Supplier’s Workers – is published online today."

"Alexa is working for 14.5 yuan an hour (£1.69). That’s £1 less than the £2.69 national average for a factory worker in China. Foxconn could not pay her so little in Shenzhen, where the legal minimum wage is 19.5 yuan an hour, or in Shanghai, where it is 20 yuan."

"Today Alexa has to clean 1,400 Echo Dot speakers with a toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any specks of dust. Four-and-a-half hours into the shift, she is already flagging.

“I was already so tired and my movements grew slower,” she writes later. “I brushed with less and less force. There were 20 or 30 speakers building up in front of me that I had yet to brush clean"

Amazon Profits from Secretly Oppressing its Supplier’s Workers: An Investigative Report on Hengyang Foxconn

http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/report/132

taken from

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/09/human-cost-kindle-amazon-china-foxconn-jeff-bezos?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=277689&subid=7646217&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

which provides the background story of Alexa


Certainly I have no desire to line the pockets of this chappie -
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rjb
Posts: 2729
Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 10:25am
Location: Somerset (originally 60/70's Plymouth)

Re: Amazon - a new slavery?

Postby rjb » 10 Jun 2018, 1:06pm

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At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, 2 Dawes Kingpins, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, On One Pompino, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

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Cunobelin
Posts: 7341
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: Amazon - a new slavery?

Postby Cunobelin » 10 Jun 2018, 3:48pm

Large employer abuses local workers through legal loopholes.....

It may be easier to find one that doesn't.

Rather than concentrate on Amazon, why not look at the far wider implications, and perhaps concentrate onto ones that we could rectify very quickly and easily if the Political will was there.

the owners of Bell, Giro, Blackburn and Camelbak also make these available to the public and support the NRA - As cyclists should we put money in teh NRA's pockets?

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Do you buy Patagonia clothing?

Four years ago internal audits turned up multiple instances of human trafficking, forced labor, and exploitation in Patagonia’s supply chain


There is the wide exploitation in the UK of frame workers highlighted by a BBC investigation - Boycott "UK Farm Produce"?

The blatant exploitation of the Gig Economy - the case where a worker died because he could't afford a £150 fine if he attended a hospital appointment - Boycott any Company that uses the GIG economy

thelawnet
Posts: 1141
Joined: 27 Aug 2010, 12:56am

Re: Amazon - a new slavery?

Postby thelawnet » 11 Jun 2018, 6:35pm

mercalia wrote:"Alexa is working for 14.5 yuan an hour (£1.69). That’s £1 less than the £2.69 national average for a factory worker in China. Foxconn could not pay her so little in Shenzhen, where the legal minimum wage is 19.5 yuan an hour, or in Shanghai, where it is 20 yuan."


Er, and? Presumably the cost of living is lower in Hengyang. Certainly higher wages than in other parts of the world. The average wage in China has risen faster than anywhere else in the world, quick maths here, at 14.5 yuan * 52 * 40 = 30,000 CNY = $4700. In 1990, China's GDP per capita was $300, today $8000.

China wages have soared and every year they increase. Some factories have moved back to the West as a result.

"Today Alexa has to clean 1,400 Echo Dot speakers with a toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any specks of dust. Four-and-a-half hours into the shift, she is already flagging.

“I was already so tired and my movements grew slower,” she writes later. “I brushed with less and less force. There were 20 or 30 speakers building up in front of me that I had yet to brush clean"


Not really sure the point here. I have tried working on a building site lugging sacks of cement and what not, a few times, absolutely exhausting but if you do it every day then it's a very different story.

The reality is that working practices differ greatly. I live in Indonesia, if I want to buy anything at all produced here, then it will be produced by people paid pennies and in working conditions that don't comply with Western standards. I don't really have a say in that.

If you as a Western company open a factory up in a country where, generally, working conditions are different from the West, then that's going to result in an upward pressure on wages/working conditions. But if you say 'no, that's awful, we should build our factory in Basingstoke', then those Chinese factory workers are still there in China, earning less than you would have paid them, their life is not better for not being employed by Foxconn to make gadgets for rich Westerners.

In the 19th century people in the UK worked in terrible conditions, over time things improved, and the same process happens elsewhere.

Incidentally one 21st century phenomenon is that Western consumers complain about workers' conditions, environmental abuses, etc., but the net outcome is not that these things don't happen, nope, now China is in charge - China builds the dams, runs the oil palm plantations, they are the colonialists of the 21st century, just as Europe was in the early 20th century. And nobody in China is telling them they are evil for doing so.