Report: Only Escape From Hellish Apple iPhone Factory Was Suicide
May 19, 2010 3:25 PM
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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.
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.
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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RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
5/20/2010 2:49:18 AM
Apple is a target because they have the capability to influence suppliers like Foxconn. We're talking about a company that is nearly the size of Microsoft in market cap. It has a commanding share of portable music devices, so it makes perfect sense for journalists to go after the big shrimp in this situation. It's not some "I feel like picking on Apple today" mentality that many posters like to believe. It boils down to the fact that many consumers relate themselves to Apple. If consumers are aware of the abuses going on at Foxconn, they can make a better informed choice about whether to spend their money on products that come from those sources. Perhaps the article should have mentioned other manufacturers as well since consumers of PC components are also complicit. However, making an impact is really the point here, and that's best served by singling out a large and distinct customer base.
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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