And the race to the bottom continues. One inventive company, recognizing that there are timezone, distance, and cultural difficulties involved in outsourcing programming jobs to Southeast Asia, is coming up with a creative solution:
Take a used cruise ship, fill it with programmers, and park it three miles off the US coast so that it is no longer subject to US laws and regulations (like OSHA rules, overtime pay, etc). Pay the programmers less than $22,000 a year and make then work 10 hours a day. And then say that since the ship is so close to America, that it's really a way of keeping American jobs at home.
It sounds to me more like indentured servitude than a decent job opportunity.
- Although the article says that each programmer will have their own room, what about spouses or children? I suspect they won't be welcome.
- They say that the pay is $1,800 a month, they don't mention whether the employees will have to pay for things like laundry service, medical care, entertainment, or other amenities -- it could well be that most of their cash will go right back to the employer.
- The article mentions 'shore leave' for employees, but how often, and how much leave? And what happens if an employee decides to quit, or has a family emergency, or has some other reason for needing to get off the boat?
The telling comment, it seems, is this one: "The pay is about three times what they earn in India today." That will make those jobs highly desirable to Indians if not Americans. And with the ship parked so close to the US/Mexico border, it doesn't take much imagination to cook up a scenario where you import a boatload of programmers through Mexico, put them on the ship in international waters, and bingo, you have a totally unregulated sweatshop where the inhabitants cannot get away without permission unless they're willing to risk a three-mile ocean swim.
It's a situation bursting with the potential for abuse.
Hat tip to Kulam Yachad for the link.