Print 24 comment(s) - last by Shining Arcani.. on Oct 15 at 12:08 PM

Foxconn workers operate in constant fear of physical beating, according to a large new study.  (Source: China Divide)

Multi-billionaire Foxconn CEO, shown here with his young bride, denies that his company abuses its workers. His company released a report indicating that the surveyed workers were lying about abusive work practices.  (Source: Baidu)
Company insists that it has a "safe and positive" working environment

Last week wasn't exactly the best of time for Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry's subsidiary Foxconn, to put it nicely.  The electronics manufacturer, which manufactures products for Apple, Sony, Nokia, Nintendo, Microsoft, Dell, HP, and others came under intense criticism after a massive new study was released, chronicling vast abuse of employees.

Foxconn appears to be growingly at odds with China's ruling communist party.  The government-controlled, Beijing-based 
Global Times leaked the report according to The New York Observer.

The study, carried out by 60 teachers and students from 20 Universities in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, depicts hellish working conditions at the electronics giant's factories.  Of the 1,736 workers surveyed, 54.6 percent felt wronged by management and 38 percent claimed the company invaded their privacy (most workers live in cities run by the company).

But most shocking, 16.4 percent --  roughly 284 of the respondents -- report experiencing "some kind of corporal violence" at the hands of the company's army of security personnel.  This illustrates that the video of guards beating a Foxconn worker might not have been an isolated incident, but rather a more frequent occurrence.

The report also highlights how the company is making interns work longer than the 8 hour shifts they signed on for a day.  And it provides its interns no medical benefits, so if they're among the many workers injured on the line daily, they have to pay for their own treatment.  The report also revealed that Foxconn lied about raising employees' pay 30 percent, with the average raise only amounting to 9.1 percent.

Foxconn issued a response this week that can be summed up in two words -- complete denial.

The manufacturer says it "categorically rejects" the report and insists that its 937,000+ employees work under "safe and positive" working conditions.  The company writes in the press release, "We are responding to the media coverage because we believe it is important to correct these unsubstantiated allegations which many media outlets are treating as facts without giving our company an opportunity to present our side of the issue."

Terry Gou, Foxconn's CEO, has been trying to promote the notion that his company is a humane workplace.  A couple months ago he invited reporters to the suicide-prone Shenzhen factory, showing off an Olympic-sized swimming pool and other perks.

Meanwhile suicides at the company continue, despite the company doing everything from recruiting Buddhist monks to making employees sign letters promising not to kill themselves.

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By nafhan on 10/12/2010 10:09:07 AM , Rating: 5
With as much trouble as unions cause in the western world these days, it can be easy to forget that there was a very good reason why they were founded. Is there something keeping the Foxconn employees from unionizing? Culture? Fear of losing their jobs? Work conditions not quite bad enough?
These large Chinese companies should take advantage of the fact that they can learn by example instead of experience!

RE: Unions
By solarrocker on 10/12/2010 10:11:32 AM , Rating: 4
Large army of security guards?

RE: Unions
By Connoisseur on 10/12/2010 10:32:48 AM , Rating: 2
Probably a combination of culture and the large army bit. is there even a precedent for unions in china?

RE: Unions
By dgingeri on 10/12/2010 10:50:20 AM , Rating: 5
no, unions are outlawed in China. the government itself is supposedly looking after the good of the people, according to their own claim. It looks to me they are failing at that part. a communist regime is supposedly an expansion of the labor union concept, to the point of a union for all the people. So, unions are outlawed in general in favor of the government.

yet another example of theory and reality being vastly different.

RE: Unions
By superPC on 10/12/2010 11:03:36 AM , Rating: 3
china is not only a communist but they're also totalitarian. that limits government reach in internal company maters. because CEOs can just bribe government official to look the other way and no one can say anything about it. totalitarian government have an upside, mostly in the agility and swiftness of respond to change because if they want to do something no one can stop them (just look at the three gorges dam). but it has a huge downside in that it put so much power in so small number of people. if the people in power are good, then it can run smoothly but if they're bad then we have chairman mao. china nowdays is kind of in the middle of good and mao.

RE: Unions
By FaaR on 10/12/2010 4:11:08 PM , Rating: 3
China isn't a communist nation, it's an oppressive dictatorship with a capitalist economic system.

Basically all of the social safety nets that the state used to provide in the past have been abolished over the last three or so decades (such as pensions, health care, education and so on), in favor of a market economy solution of "you can have it if you can pay for it, and if you can't then too bad for you".

Communist China is communist in name only; hardly even in theory, certainly not in practice.

RE: Unions
By michael67 on 10/13/2010 7:04:09 AM , Rating: 3
China is using the National Socialistic model, its the same as Nazi Germany used, if you don't look at the superiority complex of Nazi Germany and all the racialism and dead camps that came whit it.

The model it self is sound, it is a mix of Communism and capitalism, and trying to use the best of both models.

And people how say it dose not work have to read more history, Nazi Germany went from truly bankrupt, to the most powerful nation in the world in 8 years.

And if used well it is imo a good model that gives benefit to all, as it is the state that steers big company's instead of banks that are only interested in the bottom line, and will bankrupt a company if it makes them more money in the short run.

The only problem whit it is corruption, but capitalism got there also its problems. (ENRON anyone, but the list go's on)

Lets be honest capitalism in the US even do its almost a religion, it has not worked out that well for the small guy, whit the top 1% owning more then bottom 90%

And the "American dream" is it still alive do you ore your friends still truly believe in it?

Ware whit the social safety net a little better of in the EU. but not by that mouths and the hurt is felt here to by lots of people.

RE: Unions
By Paj on 10/12/2010 5:54:49 PM , Rating: 1
China's about as communist as the US is. Which is to say, not at all. In fact the only major difference is a complete lack of democracy. In terms of economic systems they're not that different.

RE: Unions
By Bengul on 10/13/2010 1:30:47 AM , Rating: 3
Actually unions are allowed in China and this is stipulated in specific laws. Recently there were changes to the Chinese Labour Law, part of which gave more power to unions. At the time there was a strong back lash from international chambers of commerce (I think it was the US chamber of commerce). At the time I found it quite ironic that a chamber of commerce, with member companies who supposedly support the formation of independent unions in their corporate codes of conduct, would be so opposed to the law (

Another interesting case was Walmart, who openly refused to let employees establish a trade union. This was a massive case as Walmart is no small company and employer of people. In the end, they gave in (

Labour unions aren't perfect in China. All must be members of the state controlled ACFTU (All China Federation of Trade Unions). ACFTU has had a bad rep in the past and has not a lot of experience in functioning as a conventional trade union should. This is due to their history. In earlier communist China, many basic trade union functions were performed by the work unit, leaving the union to organize things like work social events and activities. But the ACFTU is changing and progressively becoming more like a conventional trade union.

RE: Unions
By hukares on 10/12/2010 11:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
Modern China was built after the example of the Soviet Union. Soviet = worker so "worker's union". The government is the union. Just like the USSR, they are too corrupt to work for the people.

RE: Unions
By Shining Arcanine on 10/15/2010 12:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
Your logic is flawed. The fact is that labor conditions in China have never become good and now that they are industrializing, they are becoming much better. These sorts of events are part of the natural transition from agricultural communities were people can easily lose limbs to working in unison as part of a greater whole. They might not work well together at first, but economic realities will eventually ensure that such guarantees are provided. While labor unions are often credited for this, they play an insignificant part in this process.

RE: Unions
By Shining Arcanine on 10/15/2010 12:08:18 PM , Rating: 2
I should read what I post before I post it. My previous post should have been:

"Your logic is flawed. The fact is that labor conditions in China have never been good and now that they are industrializing, the conditions are becoming much better. These sorts of events are part of the natural transition from agricultural communities were people can easily lose limbs to a modern society where people work in unison as part of a greater whole. People need to learn how to work with one another and while they might not learn that at first, economic realities will eventually force it upon them. While labor unions are often credited for these guarantees, they play an insignificant role the economic process that provides them."

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