Foxconn and Elec-Tech – a tale of two factories

As Foxconn was staging its elaborate song and dance show yesterday to convince the world that, after a string of suicides earlier this year, everything was now fine and the workers in its Chinese factories were happy, a Hong Kong activist group released a report on a lesser known factory where appalling work conditions have clearly not improved.

In the last year alone, more than 60 workers at Elec-Tech International, a manufacturer of small home appliances, have been injured, many losing fingers and hands while operating antiquated and dangerous machinery at the company’s plant in Zhuhai, according to the report by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM).

Even more troubling is that Elec-Tech has made no effort to repair or replace the faulty machinery; “Our torment does not bother Elec-Tech at all! They don’t care about the ongoing danger in the factory,” SACOM quoted one employee as saying. He was in hospital receiving treatment while the machine that injured him was still in operation.

No training is given to machine operators at Elec-Tech, employees are forced to work excessively long hours, and, most outrageously of all, the company even imposes fines on accident victims for their “mistakes” in the operation of the machinery.

Moreover, in the wake of the report, the company is now putting pressure on injured workers not to talk about their case to anyone outside the company.

Despite the fact that Elec-Tech supplies products to American retail giant Walmart, SACOM’s report has thus far received little attention from the international media, which has instead given considerable coverage to Foxconn’s publicity stunt.

One journalist who did follow up the story, Beijing-based Kathleen McLaughlin, was told by Elec-Tech “Why don't you call Foxconn?”

Hopefully now that the Foxconn circus is over, more attention will be paid to the plight of the Elec-Tech workers, many of whom are struggling to get proper compensation for their career-ending injuries.

For more information on the case, please contact SACOM’s Debby Chan on 852 2392 5464. Email
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