丢指、低薪的中国工厂

这是我翻译自纽约时报的一篇新闻,原文为In Chinese Factories, Lost Fingers and Low Pay

By DAVID BARBOZA

纽约时报记者 戴维•巴博札
一位工人在回收旧电池GUANGZHOU, China — Nearly a decade after some of the most powerful companies in the world — often under considerable criticism and consumer pressure — began an effort to eliminate sweatshop labor conditions in Asia, worker abuse is still commonplace in many of the Chinese factories that supply Western companies, according to labor rights groups.

发自中国广州——近十年前,世界上最有权势的公司迫于大量外界批评和消费者的压力,开始致力于改善在亚洲血汗工厂工作的劳工的恶劣工作条件,十年后的今天,来自劳工权利组织的消息说,虐工现象依旧在作为西方公司供应商的中国工厂中普遍存在。

The groups say some Chinese companies routinely shortchange their employees on wages, withhold health benefits and expose their workers to dangerous machinery and harmful chemicals, like lead, cadmium and mercury.

这家组织说,有些中国公司常常克扣雇员工资,扣留劳保,并且让他们的工人直接暴露于危险的机器和有害的化学物品之下,比如铅、镉以及水银。

“If these things are so dangerous for the consumer, then how about the workers?” said Anita Chan, a labor rights advocate who teaches at the Australian National University. “We may be dealing with these things for a short time, but they deal with them every day.”

“如果这些东西对于消费者而言是危险的,那么对于那些工人呢?”劳工权利倡导者,澳大利亚国家大学教师安妮塔•陈说到,“我们可能接触这些东西很短的一段时间,但工人们却要每天和它们打交道。”

And so while American and European consumers worry about exposing their children to Chinese-made toys coated in lead, Chinese workers, often as young as 16, face far more serious hazards. Here in the Pearl River Delta region near Hong Kong, for example, factory workers lose or break about 40,000 fingers on the job every year, according to a study published a few years ago by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

因此,当美国和欧洲的消费者担心他们的孩子接触了中国制造的涂有铅的玩具时,中国的工人,通常都是16岁左右,正面对着比那多得多的严峻危险。举个例子,据上海社科院几年前发布的一项研究表明,在毗邻香港的珠江三角洲地区,工人们每年因工丧失或者被截断的手指约有4万根。

Pushing to keep big corporations honest, labor groups regularly smuggle photographs, videos, pay stubs, shipping records and other evidence out of factories that they say violate local law and international worker standards. In 2007, factories that supplied more than a dozen corporations, including Wal-Mart, Disney and Dell, were accused of unfair labor practices, including using child labor, forcing employees to work 16-hour days on fast-moving assembly lines, and paying workers less than minimum wage. (Minimum wage in this part of China is about 55 cents an hour.)

劳工组织经常从他们认为违反当地法律和国际用工标准的那些工厂中,偷偷拍照、录像,获取薪水存根,然后将这些记录和其他证据带出这些工厂,正是这些证据,促使着大公司不敢弄虚作假。2007年,很多著名国际大公司(包括沃尔玛、迪尼斯以及戴尔)在中国的供应商,被指控不公正用工,诸如雇佣童工,强迫雇员每天在高速运转的组装流水线工作超过16小时,以及支付给工人低于最低工资标准的薪水(在中国珠三角地区的最低工资标准是55美分/小时)

In recent weeks, a flood of reports detailing labor abuse have been released, at a time when China is still coping with last year’s wave of product safety recalls of goods made in China, and as it tries to change workplace rules with a new labor law that took effect on Jan. 1.

最近几周,发表了很多详细涉及劳工虐待的报告,而与此同时,中国依旧在全力应对去年出现的因中国制造的产品安全而引起的商品召回问题,同时,中国试图改变工厂的规章制度,一个新的劳工法已在今年元月一号生效。

No company has come under as harsh a spotlight as Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, which sourced about $9 billion in goods from China in 2006, everything from hammers and toys to high-definition televisions.

最近,没有一家公司能和沃尔玛公司一样,被置于严厉的公众舆论批评之中。沃尔玛公司是世界上最大的零售商,它在2006年从中国采购了超过9亿美元的货物,这些货物几乎无所不包,从榔头、玩具到高清电视。

In December, two nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, documented what they said were abuse and labor violations at 15 factories that produce or supply goods for Wal-Mart — including the use of child labor at Huanya Gifts, a factory here in Guangzhou that makes Christmas tree ornaments.

在去年12月,两个非政府组织,或NGO,发表文件说,在为沃尔玛生产或者供应商品的15家工厂中,存在着虐待或者违规用工的现象,比如广州专门生产圣诞树饰品的环亚礼品公司,存在着雇佣童工的现象。

Wal-Mart officials say they are investigating the allegations, which were in a report issued three weeks ago by the National Labor Committee, a New York-based NGO.

这些信息是一家总部设在纽约,名叫国家劳工委员会的非政府组织三周之前发布的。沃尔玛官员说,他们正在调查这一指责。

Guangzhou labor bureau officials said they recently fined Huanya for wage violations, but also said they found no evidence of child labor.

广州市劳动保障局的官员说,他们最近已对环亚违反工资政策的行为作了处罚,但同时也说,他们没有发现雇佣童工的证据。

A spokesman for Huanya, which employs 8,000 workers, denied that the company broke any labor laws.

环亚公司共雇佣工人8000人,公司发言人认为环亚公司没有违反任何劳动法规。

But two workers interviewed outside Huanya’s huge complex in late December said that they were forced to work long hours to meet production quotas in harsh conditions.

但有两个工人,十二月底在环亚公司巨大复杂的工厂外接受采访时说,他们被迫在刺耳的环境中工作很长时间,这有这样才能完成额定的工作量。

“I work on the plastic molding machine from 6 in the morning to 6 at night,” said Xu Wenquan, a tiny, baby-faced 16-year-old whose hands were covered with blisters. Asked what had happened to his hands, he replied, the machines are “quite hot, so I’ve burned my hands.”

“我要在塑料制模机前从早晨六点工作到晚上六点,”徐文泉说道。他是一个瘦小、长着娃娃脸,16岁左右的少年,双手满是水泡,当问及他的双手发生的情况时,他回答说,机器“很热,所以我的手烫成这样了”。

His brother, Xu Wenjie, 18, said the two young men left their small village in impoverished Guizhou Province four months ago and traveled more than 500 miles to find work at Huanya.

他的哥哥,徐文杰,18岁,介绍说,他们兄弟俩4个月前离开贫困的贵州小村庄,经过500多英里的旅行,最后在环亚找个份工作。

The brothers said they worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, for $120 to $200 a month, far less than they are required to be paid by law.

这弟兄俩说他们每天工作12小时,一周上6天班,月收入120美元到200美元,远低于法律规定的应付工资。

When government inspectors visit the factory, the young brothers are given the day off, they said.

当政府的检查员来工厂的时候,据这对年轻的兄弟说,他俩就会在当天放假休息。

A former Huanya employee who was reached by telephone gave a similar account of working conditions, saying many workers suffered from skin rashes after working with gold powders and that others were forced to sign papers “volunteering” to work overtime.

一位前环亚雇工在接受电话访问时,描述了类似的工作环境,他说很多工人在工作时接触金粉后浑身起皮疹,有些工人还被迫签写“自愿”加班的文件。

“It’s quite noisy, and you stand up all day, 12 hours, and there’s no air-conditioning,” he said. “We get paid by the piece we make but they never told us how much. Sometimes I got $110, sometimes I got $150 a month.”

“环境很吵,而你却要整天忍受,一天工作12小时,并且厂房中没有空调,” 他说,“我们是计件发工资,可他们从来不告诉我们干了多少。有时候我一个月能得到110美元,有时150美元。”

In its 58-page report, the National Labor Committee scolded Wal-Mart for not doing more to protect workers. The group charged that last July, Huanya recruited about 500 16-year-old high school students to work seven days a week, often 15 hours a day, during peak production months for holiday merchandise.

在这份58页的报告中,国家劳工委员会斥责沃尔玛在保护工人方面无所作为。这个组织控告说,去年七月,也就是生产假日商品最高峰的时候,环亚招募了大约500名16岁左右的高中生,让他们一周做工七天,一天15小时。

Several students interviewed at the Guangzhou Technical School, less than two miles from Huanya, confirmed that classmates ages 16 to 18 had spent the summer working at the factory.

在离环亚不到2英里的广州技术学校,几名学生接受了采访,他们证实说,很多16岁到18岁的同学整个暑假都在环亚的工厂打工。

Some high school students later went on strike to protest the harsh conditions, the report said. The students also told labor officials that at least seven children, as young as 12 years old, were working in the factory.

报告中还提到,有些高中生后来想通过罢工以抗议恶劣的工作环境。这些学生告诉劳工官员说,在他们打工的那家工厂中,至少还有7名12岁左右的小孩。

“At Wal-Mart, Christmas ornaments are cheap, and so are the lives of the young workers in China who make them,” the National Labor Committee report said.

“在沃尔玛,圣诞节的饰品是廉价的,在中国生产这些饰品的年轻工人的生命也是廉价的,”国家劳工委员会的报告写道。

Jonathan Dong, a Wal-Mart spokesman in Beijing, said the company would soon release details of its own investigation into working conditions at Huanya.

乔纳森•董,沃尔玛在北京的发言人,说公司将很快公布他们自己对环亚工作环境的调查详情。

Labor rights groups have also criticized Disney and Dell. Officials of Disney and Dell declined to comment on specific allegations, but both companies say they carefully monitor factories in China and take action when they find problems or unfair labor practices.

劳工权利组织也对迪尼斯和戴尔进行了批评。迪尼斯和戴尔的官员婉拒了对这些批评发表评论。但两家公司都说他们一直在很小心监督着中国的工厂,当他们发现问题或者不公用工的情况时,就会采取措施。

“The Walt Disney Company and its affiliates take claims of unfair labor practices very seriously and investigates any such allegations thoroughly,” the company said in a statement. “We have a strong commitment to the safety and well-being of workers, and fair and just labor standards.”

“迪尼斯公司及其附属机构非常严肃地对不公用工发出声明,并且会对任何这种指责进行彻底地调查,”迪尼斯公司在一个声明中说,“我们一直承诺为工人提供安全舒适的工作环境、公平合适的劳工标准。”

Many multinationals were harshly criticized in the 1990s for using suppliers that maintained sweatshop conditions. Iconic brand names, like Nike, Mattel and Gap, responded by forming corporate social responsibility operations and working with contractors to create a system of factory audits and inspections. Those changes have won praise in some quarters for improving worker conditions.

许多跨国公司都被严厉指责曾在20世纪90年代选择血汗工厂作为他们的供应商。一些标志性的品牌,诸如耐克、美泰玩具以及嘉普,通过组成企业社会责任组织,并与承包商建立工厂审计和检查制度,作为对这些指责的回应。这些变化,在一些致力于改善工人条件的人们中,赢得了赞誉。

But despite spending millions of dollars and hiring thousands of auditors, some companies acknowledge that many of the programs are flawed.

但是尽管花费了上百万美元,雇佣了成千的审计人员,一些公司还是坦承许多程序中存在瑕疵。

“The factories have improved immeasurably over the past few years,” says Alan Hassenfeld, chairman of the toy maker Hasbro and co-chairman of Care, the ethical-manufacturing program of the International Council of Toy Industries. “But let me be honest: there are some bad factories. We have bribery and corruption occurring but we are doing our best.”

“在过去几年中,工厂取得了不可估量的进步,” 玩具制造商孩之宝主席艾伦•汉森菲尔德说道,他同时还是Care计划的联合主席,Care是玩具行业制造伦理国际委员会运行的一个计划。艾伦还说:“但我说实话,确实有一些无良工厂。我们有贿赂和腐败现象的发生,但我们正竭尽所能。”

Some factories are warned about audits beforehand and some factory owners or managers bribe auditors. Inexperienced inspectors may also be a problem.

一些工厂会在审计前得到提醒,一些工厂老板或经理会贿赂审计人员。没有经验的检查人员也可能是一个问题。

Some major Western auditing firms working in China even hire college students from the United States to work during the summer as inspectors, an indication that they are not willing to invest in more expensive or sophisticated auditing programs, critics say.

批评者说,有些在中国开展业务的西方大审计公司,甚至聘用美国的大学生在暑假的时候担任检查人员,表明他们不愿意在昂贵或者复杂的审计程序上面多投入一些。

Chinese suppliers regularly outsource to other suppliers, who may in turn outsource to yet another operation, creating a supply chain that is hard to follow — let alone inspect.

中国供应商常常外包给其他供应商,而其他供应商可能反过来又外包给其他供应商,创造出一个很难追踪的供应链——更别说检查。

“The convoluted supply chain is probably one of the most underestimated and unrecognized risks in China,” says Dane Chamorro, general manager for Greater China at Control Risks, a risk-consulting firm. “You really have to have experienced people on the ground who know what they’re doing and know the language.”

“错综复杂的供应链,可能是一个在中国最被低估和未被认识的风险,”风险咨询公司大中国区总经理丹•查莫洛说,“你必须真正拥有当地人的生活经验,并且通晓当地语言。”

Many labor experts say part of the problem is cost: Western companies are constantly pressing their Chinese suppliers for lower prices while also insisting that factory owners spend more to upgrade operations, treat workers properly and improve product quality.

许多劳工专家说,问题的部分原因是成本。西方公司常常一面要求中国供应商降低价格,另一方面却要厂家花钱更新设备,善待职工,提高产品质量。

At the same time, rising food, energy and raw material costs in China — as well as a shortage of labor in the biggest southern manufacturing zones — are hampering factory owners’ ability to make a profit.

于此同时,中国的食品、能源和原材料成本不断上涨——除此之外中国南方最大的制造区还出现劳工短缺的情况——这些都对工厂利润造成影响。

The situation may get worse before it improves. The labor law that took effect on Jan. 1 makes it more difficult to dismiss workers and creates a whole new set of laws that experts say will almost certainly increase labor costs. Yet it may become more difficult for human rights groups to investigate abuses. Concerned about the growing array of threats to profitability, as well as embarrassing exposés, factories are heightening security, harassing labor rights groups and calling the police when journalists show up at their gates.

在这些因素得以改善之前,情况可能会变得更糟。元月一号生效的新劳动法,会让招工更加困难,劳动法建立了一个新的法律体系,专家们说,这个体系肯定会增加用工成本。然而,人权组织调查工厂虐待现象的难度也可能增加了。考虑到不断增长的对盈利能力的威胁,以及令人尴尬的曝光,工厂提高了警惕,开始阻扰劳工权利组织,当记者出现在大门口时,就叫来警察。

At the center of the problem is a labor system that relies on young migrant workers, who often leave small rural villages for two- or three-year stints at factories, where they hope to earn enough to return home to start families.

这个问题的核心问题是现在的劳工制度依赖于年轻打工者之上,这些年轻的打工者常常背井离乡,在工厂中省吃俭用两三年,希望能有所积蓄,然后返乡重新开始家庭生活。

As long as life in the cities promises more money than in rural areas, they will brave the harsh conditions in factories in this and other Chinese cities. And as long as China outlaws independent unions and proves unable to enforce its own labor rules, there is little hope for change.

只要城市能提供给比农村更高的收入,这些年轻的打工者将在中国的这个或者那个城市中,勇敢地面对糟糕的工作环境。只要中国禁止成立独立工会,并且无力落实各项法律法规,这个问题基本没有希望得以改变。

“This is a problem that has been difficult to solve,” Liu Kaiming, the director of the Institute on Contemporary Observation, which aids migrant workers in nearby Shenzhen, said of sweatshop labor. “China has too many factories. The workers’ bargaining position is weak and the government’s regulation is slack.”

当谈论到中国血汗工厂中的劳工时,当代中国观察研究所主任刘开明说,“这是一个很难解决的问题,”当代中国观察研究所致力于为深圳周边地区的农民工提供援助。“中国有太多的工厂,工人们讨价还价的地位还很低,并且政府监管不力。”

There is little that any Western company can do about those issues, no matter how seriously they take corporate social responsibility — other than leaving China.

在这个问题上有一点是任何西方公司能做到的,那就是无论情况怎样糟糕,他们都应当承担各自的社会责任——而不是离开中国。

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