The number of deaths on the job, have turned an entire neighborhood of China into a”suicide manufacturing factory”. This is the place where one of the most flourishing manufacturers of electronic components across the globe has established itself .
Here the army of workers living under the dictatorship of capitalism, thousands of people forced to satisfy the insatiable hunger for innovation that dictates the rhythm of success in the world of technology. And while important brands of mobile phones, tablets and computers get richer, an entire generation of Chinese has to deal with real slavery.
In recent years the company has been the centre of numerous enquiries and reports owing to inhumane working conditions to which employees are subjected to. A regime that has quietly killed the workers, many of whom out of despair, have preferred to take their own life rather than continuing to be treated as “prisoners”.
The video posted on the web has been spread throughout the world where a Chinese girl was interviewed, who saw an Ipad for the first time, despite passing more than 12 hours a day to assemble the pieces. “We are treated like machines, or even worse, like animals”, were the few words addressed to Cnn journalist, to whom the young girl turned under a false name because her company forbade employees to have interviews.
Like all her colleagues, she too, worked, ate and slept, seven days a week nonstop. A slap in the face to human dignity. Listening to her testimony, one seems to live through a déjà vu that brings to mind the British workers’ experience during the first industrial revolution. Even in this circumstance, large buildiings, namely concrete apartment blocks where workers passed entire months without distinguishing the difference day from night, were it not for those little glimpses of the sky visible from the windows. And it is precisely from there that many employees took their life a desperate gesture to try to find for the last time their lost stolen freedom.
After the first suicides, the company decided to place safety nets and seal the windows with metal grates, an intervention that did nothing but made it worse turning the structure into a prison with no way out. The story unfortunately is not new, and this is precisely what makes it so serious: in 2012, a revolt that marked the history of workers who threatened mass suicide if their living conditions were not changed. In this massive act of rebellion, an enquiry of the New York Times was carried out.
So with their backs to the wall, the computer colossus has decided to meet its employees; only the ‘big’ such as Steve Jobs and Tim Cook were able to mobilise to ensure workers their rights. In thissector, there are about 1.4 million people working and the Longhua complex, with its 3, 4 square metres and over 140,000 employees, is among the largest ever. After almost three years the first complaints about the building bears witness to an improvement that might suggest a happy ending, but it is just a band-aid to satisfy the complaints of the staff.
For workers suffering from clinical depression, free psychiatric counseling on a toll-free number available 24 hours . The dormitories have been renovated and can now accommodate 8 people! Dormitory have recently been redecorated and furnished with more grace, the rooms still remain inside the factory, that force workers to always stay in “prison”. Outside, a pool and a running track was set up for those who want to practise sports and relax. Finally, to sum up, a project was inaugurated inside the company, a university that will allow younger workers to study and work at the same time. Everything remains however within this reality, between the real and the virtual, where workers still live like chickens in battery cages. The organisation of the “cage” has simply been changed, but behind the apparent well-being, violations on human freedom continue behind a facade..