Microsoft hit by Chinese slave labour claim

Teenagers work 15-hour shifts and feel like “prisoners” making mice and webcams for Microsoft at a Chinese manufacturer, according to a National Labor Committee investigation.

The human rights group has released a report claiming kids as young as 14 were among hundreds of teenagers assembling Microsoft-branded peripherals at a KYE Systems plant in southern China.

The NLC claims workers are paid $0.65 per hour, reduced to $0.52 after charges for basic factory food, for shifts typically lasting from 7.45am to 10.55pm.

Each small team of workers has to make 2,000 Microsoft mice per shift, NLC said. They work six or seven days a week and bunk up in 14-bed dorms at night.

The group has published photos of lines of workers asleep at the production line during their lunch break. The one we publish below shows a mouse production line.

The report also contains claims of poor living conditions, sexual harrassment, and big fines for activities as harmless as chatting to co-workers.

KYE manufactures for HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, and others, but Microsoft accounts for 30 per cent of the factory's output, according to the report.

Microsoft, which has rules requiring its partners to pay living wages and offer humane conditions, is reportedly investigating the NLC's findings.