Print 24 comment(s) - last by jtesoro.. on Jun 22 at 11:07 PM

Workers welfare comes into question

Several weeks ago, reports were rampant about Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, employees being severely underpaid but having to work just as hard as workers in any other parts of the world. In fact, reports said that some of Foxconn's employees that were part of manufacturing Apple products were being paid a $50 per month.

Shortly after the reports began circulating, Foxconn said that its factory in Longhua, China, does not put its workers at harm and does not sacrifice living standards for cheap labor. The company further said that most of its employees are given housing. There was no response from Apple for a few days but the company did issue a statement that it would investigate the matter further.

According to Apple, the company is extremely strict about its manufacturing partners and its code of conduct. Apple said that it will be interviewing workers that work at Foxconn's factories and said that it will not tolerate non-compliance to industry standards. Apple's own policy indicates:

Suppliers must pay wages, benefits, and overtime to workers in accordance with applicable laws, including those related to minimum wages, overtime, hours, and legally mandated benefits. Suppliers may not discriminate based on race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, or marital status. The basis on which workers are being paid must be clearly conveyed to them in a timely manner.

This is not uncommon for Chinese manufacturing facilities.  At most of these factories, workers are required to live "on-campus" and share a dorm with several other employees of the same gender.  Room and board are taken out of the employee's salary and as such, the workers are typically left with $50 to $100 per month.  Whether or not this is substandard to foreign eyes, it is the standard model in China -- every facility operates this way whether the plant manufactures iPods, motherboards, cars or clothes.

Neither Apple nor Foxconn have issued any further statements. The Longhua factory produces products for many manufacturers including Apple, and makes things such as the iPod.

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Glad to hear
By Quiksel on 6/22/2006 9:27:49 AM , Rating: 0
Kudos to Apple for trying to at least make a difference in the "common" practice of treating/paying employees this way. I didn't really know this was the case for many of these suppliers, but you really have to hand it to a company for bringing this out into the light for everyone to survey. Whether it changes any future practices will remain to be seen, but ya just gotta cheer Apple on in this endeavor, whether you like Apple or not.

RE: Glad to hear
By kibets on 6/22/2006 9:32:35 AM , Rating: 4
Well.. Apple has been making iPods for what 5 years. And just now they get around to investigating - and only after they have been exposed... Please Quiksel you have got to be kidding!

RE: Glad to hear
By kelmon on 6/22/2006 10:09:32 AM , Rating: 3
It's probably worth bearing in mind the source of the allegation: The Mail On Sunday. As exposures go, it's not exactly a credible source so I'm inclinded to go with the "innocent until proven guilty". Emphasis on the proven part there, kids...

There's enough articles debunking the original article kicking around.

RE: Glad to hear
By Quiksel on 6/22/2006 10:48:44 AM , Rating: 1
I will admit that I needed a little more time to parse the article for what motivating factors are in place for Apple to come out and say what they are saying, BUT, this is still an appropriate action to take considering the allegations. I will say again, KUDOS to Apple for taking on an investigation.

Just because this is happening as a result of someone else bringing it out into the open does not mean that Apple is hiding something, nor does their reaction to the mess imply that they are doing this just to save face. Possible, yes, but not always true.

For once, we might have to take into consideration that conspiracy theory might not be the case.

RE: Glad to hear
By Bonrock on 6/22/2006 6:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
Are you for real? Do you honestly think that Apple employees never once visited one of the factories making the iPod? These factories are churning out millions of iPods every year--companies don't hand out contracts of that size without ever inspecting the facilities.

If you really think Apple deserves kudos over this whole situation, you are frighteningly naive.

RE: Glad to hear
By Griswold on 6/22/2006 9:39:44 AM , Rating: 2
You must be kidding.

RE: Glad to hear
By dice1111 on 6/22/2006 9:58:17 AM , Rating: 2
Wow Quiksel, you need to get a grip on reality. The only reason they are investigating this is because they have been publicly exposed. Apple doesn't even seem to be putting a rush on it. And while they are interviewing the employees it will be business as usual until they can find an appropriate PR resolution with minimal cost and change to their manufacturing process or Foxxcon's hiring practices. I'm sure the reason they outsource to Foxxcon is so this type of thing can happen and Apple is not directly to blame when things hit the fan. They can pawn it of on another company who was setup to be a patsy. In my opinion of course...

RE: Glad to hear
By Shoal07 on 6/22/2006 10:45:39 AM , Rating: 2
You are definitely a little deluded. Why do you think these companies manufacture in China and have tech support in India? Because it’s cheap! China will never try to change that, it’s what is funding their industrial revolution.

Complaining about cheap labor in China... Now that’s a good one!

RE: Glad to hear
By TomZ on 6/22/2006 12:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Complaining about cheap labor in China... Now that’s a good one!

Even better, probably complaining about cheap labor in China, while at the same time having a house full of products are only affordable because of that labor. Pretty hypocritical if you ask me.

Let's face it - most of us all benefit from the Cheap labor in developing countries. Should we feel guilty for it? Should we try to export our values to these countries and to our manufacturers there? Are we doing more harm or more good by buying goods from these countries? These are interesting questions, I think.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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