The ethics of foreign labour

Those who follow tech blogs will no doubt be aware of the continued scrutiny of Chinese company Foxconn. They are a giant manufacturing firm who famously make products for many American firms, notably Apple’s iPhones and iPads. In 2010 their poor working conditions lead to a string of at least 14 suicides among their work force.

To this day, the working practices in factories owned by companies like Foxconn are coming under increasing scruitiny.

Here in New Zealand, one of the key criticisms of Labour’s signing of a free-trade deal with China was to do with their record on human and worker’s rights. In left circles, it’s still a big issue.

It will probably come as a surprise to some, but New Zealand exports of fish to the US are now under threat because of on-going allegations of poor working conditions (described as slavery conditions) on ships operating in New Zealand waters.

There has been a Ministerial inquiry into this issue going on since August last year. It doesn’t seem to have made any progress. I’m sure Labour’s Darian Fenton will continue to champion the cause.

It is a timely reminder that we need to make sure our own house is in order before we criticise others.

1 thought on “The ethics of foreign labour”

  1. Always found that saying kind of strange. I like to criticise – I don’t see why we can’t criticise everyone at the same time, but yes let’s try and fix the problems at home as well as abroad.

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