Working Conditions in a Chinese Factory
The closing case describes the deplorable working conditions at the Metai factory in China that supplies computer parts directly to U.S. computer maker Dell, and indirectly to Hewlett Packard and Microsoft. Workers at the factory work long hours doing monotonous tasks and have just two days per month off. Wages are very low, and employees are forbidden to converse, listen to music, or even take bathroom breaks while on the job. When alerted to the conditions at the factory in early 2009, all three companies expressed dismay and promised prompt investigations and appropriate action, however, by 2011, no efforts to improve the situation for workers at the factory had been made.
Please answer the 4 questions :1. What enables the owner of the Metai factory profiled in this case to get away with such awful working conditions?
2. Should U.S. companies like Microsoft, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard be held responsible for working conditions in foreign factories that they do not own, but where subcontractors make products for them?
3. What labor standards regarding safety, working conditions, overtime, and the like, should U.S. companies hold foreign factories to: those prevailing in that country or those prevailing in the United States?
4. Do you think the U.S. companies mentioned in this case need to make any changes to their current policies?