Expose on Caldari work environments incites outrage in the Federation | EVE Online

Expose on Caldari work environments incites outrage in the Federation

2008-04-11 - By Svarthol

A recent examination of the life of low-level Caldari employees has incited outrage throughout the Gallente Federation. The expose, conducted by The Scope, alleged widespread human rights violations, worker lives declared "slave-like", and dangerously unhealthy conditions.

The expose focused primarily on Motsu Fabric, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Textiles (itself a subsidiary of SuVee). Combining testimony of Caldari ex-patriots living in the Federation along with an undercover investigation of one of their main factories, the expose uncovered practices it condemned as "shockingly inhumane."

One of the ex-patriots interviewed, a former worker for Motsu Fabric who approached the Scope with the story idea, recalled a time when "I injured myself when an automated loom malfunctioned. Instead of being taken to the infirmary, the shift manager simply wrapped my arm with a cloth and forced me to work the rest of my eight-hour shift. The infirmary took five minutes to sterilize and stitch the wound, then I was back at work the next day."

An undercover reporter working for the Scope managed to infiltrate the factory and recorded several hours of footage. Among the incidents caught on camera were a worker passing out from dehydration, a worker injured by a malfunctioning machine immediately replaced by another worker without the machine being repaired, and numerous small cuts and injuries being untreated and unsterilized in a dirty environment.

"The company pays its workers almost totally in company money," said the ex-patriot worker. "They technically pay small amounts of normal currency, but all that goes toward paying for company housing, so the workers get none of it. They can only use the company scrip in the company stores, and they have those set up so that you pretty much have to spend all of it to live day to day. You're supposed to be able to convert the scrip into normal money, but the exchange rates are so crazy, you'd spend months not eating if you wanted to make enough to even buy a sandwich."

Reactions within the Federation have been strong, with almost universal condemnation of the company. A poll run by the Scope showed that 97% of respondents declared the conditions "deplorable", while 84% of respondents felt the employees were "basically slaves."

A Motsu Fabric spokesman interviewed by the Scope claimed that, "Employees are free to seek other employment whenever they like and may also leave whenever they choose. They may call in sick or take vacations as their accumulated time allows. Employees are happy and treated well. We adhere strictly to the regulatory codes and any reported violations are investigated thoroughly."

The former employee responded that while these statements are technically true, it is next to impossible for a worker to take advantage of them. "An employee needs to prove he's sick by going to a doctor before he's allowed to take time off, and if you're well enough to get to the doctor, you're declared well enough to go to work. If you don't go to a doctor, you're docked the pay needed to have another worker cover your shift. They only accept violation reports from appointed management, who are often the ones causing the violations. And transportation off the station can only be paid for in regular currency, which is nearly impossible to get."

Following the broadcast, Motsu Fabric released a statement condemning the piece. The statement called the story "a typically one-sided attack on Caldari commerce." It went on to claim "the story misrepresents the standard working environment in Motsu Fabric factories. All of our factories meet the standards set by the Caldari State. Should the CBT wish to properly investigate the work conditions in our factories, we shall of course submit to a full inspection. Until then, not a piece of this story should be taken with a grain of salt."

Senator Harle Isley, a member of the Senatorial Committee on Work Practices in Foreign Trade Partners, has indicated that the committee will begin an investigation into the matter. "If these allegations are true, then products manufactured by Motsu Fabric may be considered slave-created under Federal Trade Law, which would heavily restrict them from import into the Federation."