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.