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Worker rights group slams Jabil Circuit factory conditions in China

St. Petersburg Times  |  June 30, 2010  |  Share  |  Source article

A U.S.-based worker rights group that documents harsh overseas sweatshops released a report Tuesday that claims St. Petersburg-based Jabil Circuit's factory in Guangzhou, China, is rife with "cruel and inhuman" conditions affecting its 6,000 workers.

The report, by the National Labor Committee in Pittsburgh, says it found illegal or unreasonable working conditions ranging from workers who must stand for 12-hour shifts, the hiring of illegal temps, the use of a factory security force that acts like a "police force overseeing prisoners" and company dorms housing six workers per room.

National Labor Committee director Charles Kernaghan wrote the report based on research from anonymous Chinese labor activists — the only viable method, he said, of gaining insight into factory conditions in China.

"What happened to all the promises U.S. companies made," Kernaghan asked, "that if they could set up operations in China, they would, by example, lift human, women's and worker rights standards for China's workers?"

Jabil Circuit spokeswoman Beth Walters said the company got its first look at the report Tuesday and is reviewing the allegations. "A quick look over this lengthy summary, written by a 'respected Chinese worker rights activist and scholar, who must remain anonymous,' paints a very accusatory but not very accurate picture," Jabil said in a statement. "Jabil takes employee working conditions and rights very seriously and has been vigilant about conducting employee surveys to be sure that we are proactively addressing any issues."

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