Microsoft Investigates Chinese Supplier Abuse Allegations

Microsoft has sent a team of auditors to China to investigate claims of abuses by human rights group the National Labor Committee.

The report claims that KYE in Dongguan, China, routinely hires workers as young as 14 to assemble Microsoft mice. Staff work 15 hour shifts, seven days a week and must produce 2,000 mice a shift, while being paid 52 cents an hour.

Staff live in 14 person dormitories and female staff are routinely sexually harassed the report said. Staff can only leave the plant at regulated times and while working cannot take bathroom breaks or listen to music.

In 2007 and 2008, before the worldwide recession, workers were at the factory 97 hours a week while working 80 1/2 hours. In 2009, workers report being at the factory 83 hours a week, while working 68 hours.

Microsoft said that it was sending a team to investigate the report but the site had been subject to annual checks in line with Microsoft's policy on ethical suppliers.

"Over the past two years, we have required documentation and verification of worker age, and no incidence of child labor has been detected," said Brian Tobey, corporate vice president of Manufacturing and Operations for Entertainment and Devices at Microsoft in a blog posting.

"Worker overtime has been significantly reduced, and worker compensation is in line with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition standards for the Dongguan area."

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