During my informal interview with the manager, a group of young people came in for their interview submissions. I’m told that the post-90’s generation are much more selective about their work environment than in the past. Usually only half of the potential workers complete their training course. I’m told it’s due to the lack of air-conditioning.

The worker’s payments have increased in the past few years, more than doubling in the past 5 years. Most of the factories sign contracts with its staff for 3 years, but I’ve been told that all employers are obligated to assure worker’s rights, allowing them to leave whenever they wish. On the surface this provides more protection for the workers, but it encourages owners to seek to automate their assembly lines.

We discussed the infamous suicide cases from Foxconn. The infamous electronics supplier that pays their staff around twice as much as a standard factory as a price for being heavily regulated has suffered from a 10th suicide attempt. The health and safety officer of our factory ridiculed the amount of compensation its competition is forking out. It was difficult to translate the difference between ‘oppression’ and ‘regulation’.

I have to admit, I was surprised by how ‘normal’ the workers seemed and how slowly the products were made. It was almost a leisurely pace. I’ve been told that workers are paid double for overtime. There is a team for estimating the average unit per worker per day in each test patch of pre-production.

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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