Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's largest personal computer maker, is
vowing to crack down on its Chinese suppliers in an effort to reduce the
use of low-paid student interns and other temporary workers.
guidelines unveiled Friday are the latest attempt by a major U.S.
technology company to weed out labor abuses at Chinese factories that
manufacture the gadgets for an Internet-connected world.
is based in Palo Alto, Calif., said its new standards are meant to
ensure that its Chinese suppliers don't lean too heavily on student
interns and temporary workers as a way to save money. The company says
it wants to protect workers' rights when they are hired.
standards come a few months after Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., a
major China manufacturer better known as Foxconn, acknowledged it has
hired interns as young as 14.
Both HP and Apple Inc., the maker of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, rely on Foxconn to make some of their products.
which is based in Cupertino, Calif., also has been trying to reform the
labor practices at Foxconn and other Chinese suppliers in recent years
in response to scathing criticism about the inhumane treatment of the
workers making devices that have become status symbols as well as
multi-purpose tools for communicating, reading, watching video and
Among other things, HP said it hopes its rules
will prod its Chinese suppliers to employ mostly full-time workers
instead of exploiting interns and temporary employees. When interns and
temps are used, HP said it will insist they aren't forced to remain on
the job against their will and have the right to file grievances. The
company also pledged to ensure intern hours are kept well below the
To show it is serious, HP intends to review the labor practices at its Chinese suppliers more frequently.
is a Silicon Valley pioneer whose late founders, William Hewlett and
David Packard, become renowned for their egalitarian policies and
generous benefits. The worker-friendly culture that they fostered become
known as "The HP Way" - a template that has steered the views of many
other Silicon Valley companies, including Apple, whose late founder,
Steve Jobs, once briefly worked at HP.
In recent years, though, HP
has alienated some of its 332,000 employees with mass layoffs and other
cost-cutting measures aimed at boosting its profits. The company
eliminated nearly 18,000 jobs during its past fiscal year.
stock gained 41 cents, or 2. 5 percent, to $16.85 in afternoon trading
Friday. They have traded in a 52-week range of $11.35 to $30.