Unrest in Mexico

Did you know the vast majority of workers at some major Mexico-based EMS companies are, in fact, contractors?

Reporting by Corporate Watch says the bulk of workers at plants owned by Foxconn, Flextronics, Jabil and others are, in fact, temps.

Here’s a quote regarding one (fairly recent) study:

A 2007 Cereal study found that approximately 60 percent of the 400,000 workers in Mexico’s electronics industry work for temporary agencies, with some companies employing as much as 90 percent of their workforce through sub-contractors.

The reason I bring this up is because most of these companies also are members of the EICC, a group of leading electronics companies that, among other things, have signed on to a “Code of Conduct” governing how they would treat workers, including temps. Yet that hasn’t stopped street demonstrations in Guadalajara, where a small group of workers has argued in favor of better employment conditions and severance payments.

I’m not willing to blow this out of proportion. But as a nation that aspires to be the benchmark for the world, we must take care to ensure our standards are consistent in all lands in which we work, not just our own.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

3 thoughts on “Unrest in Mexico

  1. how is this figured in the “xxxxxx number of employees world wide” type statements of these companys?

    Is this tactic the norm in other countries?

    Are the 200,000 stated to work at the Foxconn facility in Southern China really their employees? or are the majority just contractors?

  2. When are people going to wake up from their collective New Years hangover and realize that these “global” companies don’t give a rat’s catoot about the local people… and that includes right here in the good ole USA?

    Anyone laid off recently can surely sympathize.

    These corporations are in it for the money… pure and simple. They could care less about their “expendable” resources which consist mainly of human capital.

    And yet we continue to have this belief that they will carry the banner of freedom and fairness everywhere they go.

    Bahhh Hummbuggg

  3. John, I wondered the same thing. My understanding is that when publicly held companies report staffing levels, they include temps and contract workers (but not consultants).

    Either way, Foxconn is known to hire gobs of seasonal and contract workers, so I don’t think that’s the surprise here. I would strongly stress that US based companies, especially ones that sign on to “codes of conduct,” ought to practice what they preach. We’re supposed to be better than that.

    At least, that’s what we tell everyone.

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