Your keyboard goes through hell to reach you

9 February 2009

You've probably never given two damns about the conditions under which your keyboard was manufactured. And why should you? As long as it hooks you up with your indispensable Bitterwallet and Frankie Vaughn's eye-popping screen of wonderment, there's no need to offer it a second thought. But as Boing Boing reports, they're not all born into the kindest of worlds.

An investigation into the working conditions at the Meitai keyboard factory in Dongguan City - which manufactures keyboards for Microsoft and HP amongst others - revealed horrific working conditions endured by staff:

“Infractions” punished with the loss of over two hours’ wages (fine of 10 RMB--$1.44), including for—

  • “Being 1 to 5 minutes late to start a shift…”
  • “Not periodically trimming fingernails, which will affect product quality.”
  • “Putting hands in pant pockets while inside the factory or workroom.”
  • “Not lining up correctly while punching time cards or at the cafeteria.”
  • “Wearing work shoes outside the work room after work.”

The full list is some five times longer, and includes infractions that can punished by firing, which include membership of "illegal organisations" - independent unions; human, women’s and children’s rights organizations and non-state-sanctioned religious organisations.

[Boing Boing]

TOPICS:   World News


  • chrisg.
    And yt the qulity conrtol on them is fntastic!
  • Amanda H.
  • Andy
    @chris g I see what you did there! Seriously though, thats some 1950's shit right there!
  • Derek S.
    The workers voluntarily CHOOSE to work there. The alternatives will be much worse.
  • Captain P.
    Let's give them the same Workers rights,'elf & Safety conditions we have and the production prices will be the same if they were manufactured here, then all those jobs can be brought back to the UK. Labours cheaper in China for a reason!
  • -=Mike H.
    People need discipline, If there is a lack of it, people take the piss and start tapping out comments on blogs all day rather than doing work...
  • Will
    Meh. I buy logitech.
  • Ducky
    @ Will. I heard a fairy dies every time a logitech keyboard is made. :-( Shame on you.
  • Fred C.
    I thought that they were all reasonable procedures except the fine for 2 hrs wages, at least there should be a caution first. These quality procedures were in place when I went to visit a keyboard plant in Greenock, Scotland. In those days the keyboard that I had was £100, Made in Scotland! How time has changed!
  • Fred C.
    By the way, China has two tier system, private housing and communal housing. People who work in factory would have zero mortgage on a property back home (this is a communist country). Therefore their products are always a great deal cheaper as none of them has a mortgage of £250k-£300,000 on average compared with the UK. Most people in China pay for their homes with cash so you will not get much banking costs factored into their products. So for a 20 year mortgage of 20 years the total repayment for £250k is £500k so with half a million pounds loaded onto the costs. No wonder not much is made in UK, even Italian and Portugese workers with mortgages back home can pay for rented accommodation in UK and are still cheaper than a UK worker !
  • Joff
    @ Ducky, I have the MS keyboard used in the generic keyboard example above and can testify that fairies only die when you use the shortcut keys like the little calculator button. It's a good button though.
  • The B.
    I have an MS ergonomic keyboard, but it's a tad crusty, do the fairys drown by any chance or is it a salt overdose?
  • Bob
    I got a Saitek...high quality, made in Eastern Europe. Now thats quality cheap labour!
  • Joff
    Always by drowning. They're put into a bucket and left under a running tap. Harsh, but it's the only way to learn 'em.

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