Recently I read a very clarifying article in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, about the way Philips runs its business in Mexico. The place is called Matamoros. For several companies this is the place where they have their assembly-factories, because of the low wages they have to pay here. This accounts for Philips as well. The flight of companies to countries where they can pay low wages is well known.
What I didn't know was that Philips is conducting a policy here that comes down to pure exploitation, the way it was usual in Europe 100 years ago! This is beyond my understanding. Some facts:
The workers (mostly women) earn about US$ 66 a week, not enough to support a family (so these are not fair wages)
The work has to be done under very bad conditions, lead fumes are one of the polluting factors they have to work in. Ventilation does not work. In the past 1½ year 100 women workers have had a miscarriage. I don't think this is a coincidence.
So called trade unions make sure they get payed by companies to keep the workers quiet. So no wages demand, no demands for better working conditions, no demands at all. These unions agree to whatever conditions the workers have to work in, because their only objective is to get payed.
But there is still worse to come. Very recently Philips has made a deal with these so called unions, to pay new workers on the job for the first 5 years half the normal wages! They reckon it takes 5 years to learn how to work on an assembly line! Present workers know very well what this means for them: in no time they will be replaced by these very cheap workers.
So called health-certificates Philips says to have been given, can never have been given by an authorized person, because the attorney for environmental protection has resigned end of last year.
These practices are rife in Mexico. But instead of setting a decent treatment of people against these kind of practices, Philips eagerly makes use of it. It may be impossible to ignore these Mafia-kind of unions, they don't dictate companies to follow an antisocial policy. The only thing they want is money. Philips however doesn't care about minimum wages for its workers, doesn't care about healthy circumstances to work in, doesn't care about miscarriages. Philips shows itself in its true colors, that is as an unashamed exploiter of workers that are unable to make their own voice heard! It squeezes its workers out and shares the profit with the so called unions. Shame on Philips! Shame on us if we buy Philips!!
Like NIKE was forced to follow a less antisocial policy in Asia, so Philips should be forced to follow a less antisocial policy in Mexico. I think it is unbelievable that European companies are involved in these kind of practices! They like to make money and others have to live like slaves to earn it for them. It can only be done because consumers are left in complete ignorance about it.