Wed, Jun 13, 2018 - Page 9 News List

Underpaid and exhausted:
The human cost of your Kindle

In Hengyang, China, there is a fatigued, disposable workforce assembling gadgets for Amazon, owned by the world’s richest man

By Gethin Chamberlain  /  The Guardian, in HENGYANG, China

It is really not OK, though, CLW executive director Li Qiang (李強) said.

He last month wrote to Bezos, setting out the investigation’s findings and challenging the hiring of more than 40 percent of the workforce from agencies.

“This violates Chinese labor law. Foxconn uses a large number of dispatch workers and violates workers’ interests via these dispatch companies. This practice is unethical and illegal,” he wrote. “I hope that you can compel your suppliers to improve their working situations and to manufacture Amazon products under ethical conditions.”

However, Amazon already knew this, because Alexa was not the only person running a ruler over the Foxconn factory in March. Amazon said that its own auditors also visited and picked up “two issues of concern” — the high volume of dispatch workers and the illegal underpayment of overtime. Foxconn was told to fix it.

Amazon head of worldwide sustainability Kara Hartnett Hurst responded to Li’s concerns, telling him: “Amazon takes reported violations of our supplier code of conduct extremely seriously.

“Amazon recognizes our responsibility to ensure the well-being of factory workers manufacturing products for Amazon,” she added.

The company has a code of conduct for suppliers and it used independent auditors to inspect its suppliers, who were expected to respond to any issues identified, she said.

Last year, Bezos announced that he was considering a philanthropy strategy, “helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”

Apparently short of inspiration and unable to think of anything close to home, he took to Twitter to ask for suggestions.

Saturday’s report suggests he might have been better off just asking Alexa.

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