Hindi-Chini.. Bhai Bhai…?

June 16th, 2010

When Foxconn’s, the largest manufacturer of electronics and computer components worldwide and mainly manufactures on contract to other companies, some bones are falling off the skeletons in the Chinese cupboard. With signs of employee frustration and disgruntlement coming out in the open, the western media has begun to celebrate the beginning of the end of the factory floor of the World.

The spate of suicides, allegedly due to employee frustration and work pressure, is starting to tell on the reasons for the success of the China model. I have seen some China-baiter Indians rubbing their hands in glee. They feel it’s only a matter of time before its India’s turn to dominate the world stage like China is doing today.

Only a couple of summers ago, there were the ‘experts’ who were saying that while China is the factory of the world, India only complements it by being the back-office of the world.

The worker riots are on the rise in China and hundreds of factories are said to have suspended work as a result of the worker unrest. All a result of the long working hours and poor wages. They have no way of venting their ire. The only worker unions are those controlled by the Communist Party. The frustration among workers that had been suppressed… and suppressed over the years is boiling over.
But, has this woken anyone up in India? I doubt. The backoffice of the world could also come to this one day. The BPOs and IT services firms are many a time said to be glorified sweat-shops. The concept of employee rights is often considered anathema. But, all have a facade to show they are great places to work in… and so on…,

While organised unions are frowned upon. But, employees have no one to fight for their rights.
Unions destroyed Bombay’s cloth mills. So, are we set to see an era… perhaps a few summers hence… when the IT/ITeS firms may find itself in the same position that the manufacturing sector in China is in today.

I am keeping my fingers crossed. The Americans are set to face tough times…, of rising cost of manufactured goods and also higher cost of the IT services they require.

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