A report by a US advocacy group has claimed that a factory producing Xbox consoles for Microsoft is using 16 and 17-year-olds in hot and crowded conditions, but the company insists that it is investigating the matter.

The National Labour Committee report into the KYE Systems factory in Dongguan raised a number of questions about conditions and the age of workers.

"The factory is very crowded. In one workshop measuring around 105ft by 105ft, there were nearly 1,000 workers," said the report.

"In the summer, temperatures can exceed 86 degrees and workers leave their shifts dripping in sweat.

"It is only when the foreign clients show up that management turns on the air conditioning,"

Chinese whipers

The questions over the conditions in Chinese factories have been raised many times with major Western countries taking advantage of cheap manufacturing to sate supply.

In its response to the report Microsoft's corporate vice president, manufacturing and operations, entertainment and devices Brian Tobey said that it would be sending over independent auditors and that it does take these matters seriously.

"As a company that sells a wide range of hardware and devices, we take very seriously our corporate responsibility to ensure that the manufacturing facilities and supply chain operations that we use comply with all relevant labor and safety requirements and ensure fair treatment of workers," said Tobey.

Rigorous standards

"We have rigorous standards in place, and have established a robust supplier Social and Environmental Accountability (SEA) program. As a result of this report, we have a team of independent auditors en route to the facility to conduct a complete and thorough investigation," he added.

"If we find that the factory is not adhering to our standards, we will take appropriate action.

"We should note that as part of Microsoft's ongoing supplier SEA program, an independent auditor has been inspecting the KYE factory annually.

"In addition, Microsoft personnel conduct quarterly on-site assessments, and receive weekly reports from KYE on key labor and safety criteria that we monitor as part of our supplier SEA program."

Via Telegraph