Those appalling Foxconn conditions

Like her, many Foxconn workers manage to go home only once a year.

Blimey. That\’s pretty good for someone we\’ve just been told only arrived a few months ago:

Li (not her real name) arrived a few months ago to join the rapidly growing

Look, I\’m sorry, but this sort of weeble is just nonsense.

These people are migrant workers in China. Which is, as you\’ll probably know, both a poor place and a large place.

A rough and reasonable guide is that the general standard of living is around and about that of the US in 1900 (I assume that\’s in chained dollars….yes, Maddison\’s fugures normally are).

So, did migrant workers in the US in 1900 go home once a year? Did they buggery.

Another example might be the hundreds of thousands of Paddys who turned up in the UK post WWII. There were still those day labouring on the building sites when I went up to London in the 80s. Home more than once a year? I think not.

My own grandmother left County Down as a migrant worker post WWI and worked in Seville. Home more than once a year? Yes, most amusing.

Perhaps it is appalling that in this modern day and age Chinese workers only get to go home once a year (Chinese New Year is the normal time, when quite literally half the country is on the move, rather like Wakes Week in parts of the North used to be). But the fault for that is that the place is still a poor place: thanks Mao, you did a great job.

5 comments on “Those appalling Foxconn conditions

  1. I go ‘home’ once a year (just got back from Blighty, and it cost me a fortune). Cry me a fucking river.

    My Dad was four years without seeing his folks once, or getting home leave at all. Yes, there was a war on, but still.

  2. Standard number of return trips home for an expatriate family in at least 2 of the major oil companies? One. In Nigeria and a few other places, it gets increased to two.

    For those on single status, which is probably more applicable a comparison, it is a standard 4 trips increased to 5 for Nigeria and a few other places.

    However, the number of return trips home granted to people working in their home country? Zero. Spend your local holidays how you see fit.

  3. Tim,

    ‘My own grandmother left County Down as a migrant worker post WWI and worked in Seville.’ –

    She wasn’t in the orange business, by any chance? Sorry, couldn’t help it.

    “So, did migrant workers in the US in 1900 go home once a year? Did they buggery.” –

    But over a third of them did eventually return to their country of origin.

    “Another example might be the hundreds of thousands of Paddys who turned up in the UK post WWII. There were still those day labouring on the building sites when I went up to London in the 80s. Home more than once a year? I think not” – Hmm, that might surprise you. Certainly, during WWII travel between UK and RoI was restricted. However, straight afterwards if you could get yourself to Glasgow, (and also presumably Liverpool, Swansea, and Holyhead), you had twice daily sailings to Dublin, and, here, also boats going to Belfast, Mayo and Donegal. In the mid 1930’s, one of my ancestors did Glasgow to Ballina in less than 24 hours via the Dublin boat. It also depended on the type of work they were doing here. If it was straight casual work, 10 guys living in a bothy sort of stuff, then they could be off like a flash, which they did do if they had farms of their own to look after. The Irish might not have conducted the world’s most epic seasonal labour migrations – that honour belongs to those Italians who travelled from Sicily and Calabria to Argentina and back again every year – but they did their fair share.

    As a a passing thought, define irony. The misery of steerage is part of the national myth of that European country whose citizens are now the most enthusiastic peddlers of discount air travel, going from steerage on the sea to steerage in the sky not quite in one fell swoop, please God, but certainly in one leap. Freud wrote that the Irish defy analysis, that they were the only people he’d come across on whom it just didn’t work. This is a stunning case in point.

  4. This might seem unkind, but the expression ‘If you didn’t drink, you weren’t wanted’, perhaps tells it own story.

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