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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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RE: Price
By bupkus on 5/20/2010 11:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
You people actually gave a 5 to a position that supports labor exploitation? Or are you supportive, no matter what the results, of market driven forces?
And may I quote you
quote:
people can whine about human rights and atrocities
I am horrified by what appears to be a new generation of market driven monsters!
And what sense does it make to say
quote:
Or, which one would you pick: an iPhone that costs $200 because it's made in the U.S., or the pretty Android phone that's only $100 because it's made in China?
Do we have reports of Android phones assembled by laborers working under such abysmal conditions or are these just reports from Apple haters ???
Yes, I have an online business that originally was supplied by products manufactured in China. I need to resupply but I cannot bring myself to do so with China's ugly human rights record. I will go out of business within a year and it will cost me much more than $100 for a gd damn phone!

My stomach turns and I am so angry to read such lack of concern for HUMAN BEINGS.


RE: Price
By lightfoot on 5/20/2010 12:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
These people are not slaves. There is huge competition for these jobs, because they are considered very good jobs.

The only reason people feel trapped in this type of job is simply because there aren't any better jobs available to them.

If they want to leave they can leave.


RE: Price
By Motoman on 5/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Josh7289 on 5/24/2010 1:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If they want to leave they can leave.

And where are they going to get that money? They're stuck.


RE: Price
By hyvonen on 5/22/2010 4:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but you misunderstood. I was pointing out that a lot of people seem to be hypocrites when complaining about labor abuses, but still choosing to buy the cheap stuff that was made with cheap, abused labor.

I wasn't stating my own view about labor abuses. I personally tend to buy local, even if it's more expensive. When it comes to electronics, though, I don't really have those options, because they are ALL made in China/Taiwan. Why is this? Because the market has spoken; the market wants cheap stuff, regardless of who made it.


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