Siemens AG

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Siemens AG is a major electrical engineering and electronics company that is headquartered in in Berlin and Munich.

Major areas of Siemens operations include Information and Communications, Automation and Control, Power, Transportation, Medical, and Lighting. In the year to September 30, 2005 Siemens had sales of â?¬75.445 billion and net income of â?¬2.248 billion. [1]

In November 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Siemens was launching its most extensive ad campaign ever, in an attempt to neutralize "a massive corruption scandal." The "Siemens answers" ad campaign, developed by WPP's Ogilvy & Mather firm, will run in "major markets around the globe." Siemens is spending $148 million a year on the three-year campaign, which highlights health care, energy and industrial "technologies being developed by Siemens." In addition to print ads, the campaign will include billboards, television ads and "keyword-based marketing" online. The goal is to "help Siemens regain the public's trust," after allegations surfaced that company managers paid bribes to win infrastructure contracts in several countries. [1]

Labor

Siemens is one of the major purchasers of electronics produced at the Lite-On Computer Technology production facility in Shijie Town, Dongguan Province, China (founded 1997).[2] By early 2008, the facility employed about 5000 people who enter the company by paying agencies based in Shijie town, Dongguan, 500-600 yuan (for men) or 200 yuan (for women). [2] While Lite-On production schedules follow a normal 8-hour workday, breaks consist of only 10 minutes twice a day and are unpaid – further, overtime work in the evenings, on weekends, and especially during busy seasons, is mandatory and can reach up to 100 hours a month, in violation of both Chinese Labor Law and the [EICC] standard. [2] Basic wages at Lite-On complied with Chinese minimum wage laws (690 yuan/month in 2007), but until mid-to-late 2007 when overtime began being paid at twice the standard weekend rate (8.24 yuan/hour) the company violated overtime wage laws by paying over 2 yuan less per hour. [2] A fire in the factory in February of 2008 has caused workers to be extremely concerned about their safety, and as of May 2008 production had not yet fully resumed at full capacity due to the damage the fire had caused. [2] Workers are charged up to one quarter of their wages on food, electricity, and water for eating and living in the factory dormitories, which house up to 16 people per room. [2] Research conducted by [SACOM] and [Bread for All] in early 2008 concluded that workers at Lite-On were unaware of their rights under either [EICC] standards or any of the codes of conduct of Lite-On’s customers, including Siemens.[2]

Siemens purchases power supply devices including invertors, converters, and adapters from the Yonghong Electronics factory in Shenzhen. Yonghong is a member of the FSP Group and was founded in May 2000. In 2006, it was found to employ children under the age of 16, though by 2008 only workers of legal age were found to be working in the factory.[3] Workers at the factory are forced to work up to 7 days a week and 100-200 hours of overtime a month, in clear violation of Chinese labor law. Exhaustion is a common problem amongst workers at the factory, and they are often paid wages below the legal minimum, especially probationary (new) workers. [4] While some workers are paid the legal minimum wage of 750 yuan/month, the system in place to pay overtime wages does not pay for more than 3 hours of overtime a day, even though workers are forced to work longer in order to make the daily production quotas. [5] Because of the repetitive nature of the factory work and the extreme long hours, besides exhaustion, workers suffer from repetitive motion injuries, and neck, shoulder, and back pain are common. [5] The problem is exacerbated by the management policy that fines workers for moving their chairs from a yellow line painted on the floor to make all chairs placed in a straight line, a policy even worse for smaller employees who are not close enough to reach their work tables comfortably. [5] Workers are not provided with hazard or safety training or face masks and inhale fumes produced by soldering. [6] Workers at the Yonghong factory are not permitted to stop working there, despite the Chinese labor law code which allows for resignation with one-month prior notice. Employees complain that management refuses to look at their applications of resignation. [6] Workers sleep in rooms with 12 people in the dormitories, and they expressed concerns to SACOM interviewers about the quality and cleanliness of the food provided to them. [7]

Contact details

Siemens AG
Wittelsbacherplatz 2
80312 Munich

Siemens Region Deutschland
Nonnendammallee 101
13629 Berlin
Web: http://www.siemens.com/index.jsp

Articles and resources

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References

  1. Mike Esterl, "Siemens Polishes Image: Big Outlay Planned To Try to Mend Scandal's Damage," Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), November 29, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Jenny Chan, the Research Team of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and Chantal Peyer (Bread for All). “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow Up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” May 2008. p. 10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Jenny Chan, the Research Teach of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-Up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 11
  4. Jenny Chan, the Research Teach of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-Up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 12
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jenny Chan, the Research Teach of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-Up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 13
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jenny Chan, the Research Teach of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-Up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 14 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "high_tech_14" defined multiple times with different content
  7. Jenny Chan, the Research Teach of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-Up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 14-15

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