Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I enjoyed our trip to Beijing very much and I found the trip to TopNew industries to be very interesting, they make clothing for H*M and Columbia, they are a Govt owned factory and our tour was arranged by the Govt. The first thing you notice upon arriving at the factory is that the entire complex is surrounded by a fence and there is a guard at the front gate restricting access or is he really restricting workers from leaving? The plant is a very drab set of buildings built in the old Soviet Style and mostly run down. The conditions in the factory were very hot and the w. orkers looked like they were worked very hard although we were told that they only worked an 8 hour day, I am not so sure I believe that! We also toured there lunchroom which looked more like a prison cafeteria then a cafe we would be used to. The dorms were very interesting in that 8 young women shared a room with not much in it more then 4 sets of bunk beds with very thin mattresses, there were sinks and squat toilets down the end of the hall. While the conditions were poor, they were probably better then where these workers were living six months before and quite honestly the conditions were not that much worse then the Barracks I lived in at Fort Bragg. I found the plant manager very nice or at least he appeared that way, I did wonder how he interacted with the workers. I also thought the firm brochure written in Chinklish quite amusing along with the photos of the workers on trips to the great wall and to amusement parks. I highly doubt many of the workers at the plant get to go on such trips.