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HP, Apple Chinese Workers Get 30 Min Off For New Year
PALO ALTO, Calif. (CAP) - In what is being lauded as a major step forward for the rights of Chinese workers, computer giants HP and Apple both gave employees in their Chinese factories a full half hour off to enjoy the Chinese New Year this weekend.
"We understand that all work and no play makes Chang a dull laborer," said Tony Prophet, HP's Senior Vice President for Worldwide Supply Chain Operations. "By giving a little, we got a lot in return: production after the celebration for the rest of that 17-hour shift was the highest we've seen in nine days."
While all workers in HP's factories were afforded the time off, not everyone was able to celebrate at the exact moment of the new year. Breaks had to be staggered to ensure no gaps in production, a move that Apple approached differently.
"In order to let everyone in China celebrate at once, we simply stepped up production at our Indonesia factories for the day," Apple's Senior Vice President of Operations, Jeff Williams, said. "And who wouldn't want to earn an extra 50 cents? It's like a Christmas bonus.
"Of course, we later found out that a lot of Indonesians celebrate Chinese New Year," Williams added. "Oh, well - lesson learned. We'll make it up to them next year."
Asked whether his company plans to allow workers to celebrate any other Chinese holidays, Williams told CAP News, "Let's not get ahead of ourselves." He then pointed out how additional holiday celebrations at a factory in Sakai, Japan led to requests for time off to tend to elderly family members, recover from bouts of tuberculosis, and use the bathroom.
"Come on, people, we're not making sneakers here - these are iPhones," said Williams. "More breaks means less phones; less phones means fewer copies of Subway Surfer that get downloaded. It's a domino effect."
For their part, HP says the Chinese New Year falls at a particularly busy time for them and it would be much easier to afford workers the time off to celebrate it if it fell more in line with their fiscal year. Company management will likely move the holiday next year in order to better keep up with product demand in the United States.