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Foxconn employees endure hellish working conditions to earn a tiny wage for building Apple's iPads, iPods, and iPhones.  (Source: Southern Weekly)

The conditions are so bad, some employees have taken their own lives. Foxconn has created the "stress room", a place where emloyees can be away their rage and frustration, in hopes of decreasing the suicide rate.  (Source: Southern Weekly)
Apple's parts supplier Foxconn faces more controversy

Last time a reporter tried to penetrate Apple's veil of secrecy, security guards employed by their parts supplier, Foxconn, beat up the reporters involved.  But questions had to be answered in the wake of the suicide/potential murder of a Foxconn employee which occurred after the employee lost an iPhone prototype.

Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly was determined to find out the true story, and sent a reporter in undercover, posing as a new employee.  Given the fact that Foxconn's Shenzen plant that builds Apple's iPads, iPods, and iPhones has 400,000 employees, that part wasn't too hard.

What was hard, was for the reporter to endure the plant's reportedly hellish working conditions for 28 days. 

So far in the last four and a half months seven workers from the plant have committed suicide, and at least 9 have attempted suicide.  According to reporter Liu Zhi Yi who infiltrated the plant, the likely reason why was that they felt taking their own life was the only option to escape the hellish working conditions of the plant.

According to Liu, the plant makes employees work around the clock, only pausing briefly to eat or sleep.  Most of the time the employees are standing, seldom able to sit down and rest their weary legs.  This is perfectly legal, as employees are required to sign a special overtime document that override Chinese workplace laws and essentially allows the employer to demand whatever hours they want from you, without additional compensation.

Foxconn pays the workers far too little for them to hope to buy one of the Apple products they assemble.  It pays them only 900 Chinese Yuan a month —about $130 USD.  Still the workers have dreams.  They joke that their carts that they haul Apple materials on are "BMWs", dreaming of real BMWs.  They buy lottery tickets and bet on horse races in hopes of miraculously being handed an escape from their purgatory.

But for most, they will live out their lives slaving away to build Apple's products, constantly in danger, while earning only a pittance.  So, according to the newspaper there's little surprise some employees fall into deep despair.

Foxconn at the request of Apple and Chinese state officials has made some steps to decrease the suicide rates.  It's hired counselors and given workers dummies to beat on to vent their rage.  And it's even been so kind as to hire Buddhist monks to allow the souls of those who committed to suicide to escape purgatory.


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Because Foxconn only makes apple products....
By Cheesetogo on 5/19/2010 5:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
Foxconn is the 2nd largest producer of motherboards in the world. Motherboards that are used in PCs . They're also very large producers of many other products used in computers, such as heatsinks.

But I'm sure that all of the factories that make PC components are nothing like this one. Obviously, Steve Jobs has requested that the employees at the iPhone factory be treated worse and paid less than the rest of Foxconn's workforce. Or maybe Jason Mick is just a sensationalist "journalist" who can't wait to find any dirt he can on Apple, no matter how full of bullshit it is.




By clovell on 5/19/2010 6:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
Just makes me miss the days when MachSpeed still made mobos. It was nice to have an American mobo manufcaturer for a few years...


By afkrotch on 5/20/2010 12:22:25 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, those motherboards find their way into many things. Not just PCs. The PS3, the 360, the Wii being some of them.


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