A Decent Factory 0+

Thomas Balmés, FR - FIN 2004, 79 min

Experienced documentary filmmaker Thomas Balmés, author of the highly regarded film The Gospel According to the Papuans, decided to examine in the style of direct cinema how socially responsible the firm NOKIA truly is towards its employees. The directors of this world leader in the manufacture of mobile phones are proud not only of the success of the company, but also of their responsible behavior towards their employees. This is supposed to apply to their Chinese subcontractors as well and they hope to include this in their marketing in order to improve further on their own image. For this purpose they employed a specialist in the maintenance of basic employee rights, Hanna Kaskinen, who together with her British colleague set off for China to perform a thorough inspection of the workings of the factory there with special regard given to the employees' working conditions. It slowly comes to the surface that ninety percent of the workers are comprised of women living across from the factory in ramshackle living quarters, with eight women sharing one small room and working six days a week. They have a right to the minimum wage only after thirty-six hours of overtime. According to one of the workers, they spend the majority of their money on food as the meals in the local canteen are very poor. The reality in the factory of the Chinese subcontractor as captured by the film crew shows itself to be rather different from what the directors of the firm NOKIA would have wished.


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