05-31-12 06:18 PM
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  1. dbollman423's Avatar
    Apple assembly plant conditions still harsh in China: activists
    Thu, May 31 06:37 AM EDT

    By Lee Chyen Yee and James Pomfret

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - Working conditions at Foxconn's gargantuan Chinese factories that assemble Apple Inc's slick gadgets have barely improved despite pledges this year to halt labor violations, workers' rights activists and employees said on Thursday.

    Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's main global contract manufacturer run by Taiwanese tycoon Terry Gou and employing 1.2 million workers in China, has come under fire in recent years for running massive "sweatshops" to mass produce high-end iPads and iPhones.

    Last month, Gou defended his firm's industrial workshops that have helped outmuscle rivals through vast economies of scale and cost savings that have made it the world's largest contract manufacturer.

    "What's wrong with sweatshops?" Gou told Chinese workers visiting Taiwan in late April. "We toil hard with blood and sweat, so long as we don't break any laws. I believe in reaping what you sow," he added in videoclip posted on YouTube.

    Following a spate of critical reports detailing unsafe factory practices at Foxconn plants that have triggered worker deaths and suicides, Apple this year allowed the U.S.-based Fair Labor Association (FLA) to conduct a high-profile and extensive probe of Foxconn's China factories.

    The report, released in March and based on 35,000 worker interviews, unearthed labor violations including extreme work hours and unpaid overtime. As a result, Apple and Foxconn pledged major improvements including cutting workloads, improving safety protocols and upgrading workers' housing and quality of life.

    A fresh report released on Thursday by labor watchdog Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), based on visits to several Foxconn factories and 170 worker interviews, found rights violations "remain the norm" including high production targets, inhumane treatment and signs of overall salary cuts.

    "The frontline management continue to impose humiliating disciplinary measures on workers," it said.

    "The above findings demonstrate that Apple and Foxconn have not turned over a new leaf," the report added.

    Like other China-focused labor advocacy groups, Hong Kong-based SACOM has released a number of hard-hitting and prominent reports on Foxconn in recent years.

    Foxconn workers staged strikes in April at separate plants in northern and central China, including a group that threatened to collectively jump from a roof over pay and work conditions.

    TOO BIG, TOO COMPLICATED

    "I haven't seen any real evidence of any significant changes," said Geoffrey Crothall of China Labour Bulletin, another group which monitors Foxconn.

    "At the moment they're just tinkering around the edges and doing PR stunts ... I don't think there's a short term fix to the situation at Foxconn. It's too big, it's too complicated."

    Crothall added that Foxconn needed to move towards greater dialogue with the workers through more representative unions.

    "If they can move towards a more democratic system where the workers have a voice in their pay and conditions ... you'll find a much more content workforce."

    Some of the hundreds of thousands of workers now employed in Foxconn's major industrial plants in southern China's dusty Pearl River Delta near Shenzhen, corroborated SACOM's findings.

    "The work pressure is still great," said a worker surnamed Wang who has worked at Foxconn's complex in Guanlan making iPhones and other products over the past two years.

    "There hasn't been much change. We are still being pushed very hard," he told Reuters by telephone.

    Another employee made similar remarks.

    The overall salaries of Foxconn workers dropped even though basic pay has increased, as overtime work has been cut, SACOM found.

    Some workers also had higher production targets and had to work unpaid overtime after pay hikes.

    Foxconn Technology Group said they would work closely with the FLA to improve the working environment of its workers and ensure that they are treated with respect.

    "The welfare of our employees is without a doubt our top priority and we are working hard to give our more than one million employees in China a safe and positive working environment," Foxconn Technology Group said in an emailed statement after Reuters forwarded them the SACOM report.

    (Additional reporting by Clare Jim in Taipei; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
    05-31-12 07:55 AM
  2. hootyhoo's Avatar
    Cool. Another apple sucks thread.
    05-31-12 08:21 AM
  3. Superfly_FR's Avatar
    Cool. Another apple sucks thread.
    +1 ... having a beer ... waiting for the fight.I give you one if you share popcorn
    05-31-12 08:46 AM
  4. brucep1's Avatar
    "If they can move towards a more democratic system where the workers have a voice in their pay and conditions ... you'll find a much more content workforce."
    My favorite line in the article...It is somehow Apple's responsibility to do this.

    Apple: Go into other countries, question their work policies, and change them.

    All other companies who use similar manufacturers with similar work conditions: Na, you guys are good.
    OniBerry and Bigruss8 like this.
    05-31-12 09:02 AM
  5. morlock_man's Avatar
    My favorite line in the article...It is somehow Apple's responsibility to do this.

    Apple: Go into other countries, question their work policies, and change them.

    All other companies who use similar manufacturers with similar work conditions: Na, you guys are good.
    Right now its like: Go into other countries with poorest work policies and worker representation, abuse them for maximum profit margins.

    Apple is employing about a tenth of a percent of the population of the whole country of China with Foxconn. A fraction of the population of the world's most populated country. It's insane to think they have no part in the madness thats been created in this factory city.

    People won't buy Canadian seafood because they think the seal hunt is humane, but they'll still buy Apple products, whose production are actually killing human beings.

    It's hypocrisy.
    Vorkosigan and habs_fan like this.
    05-31-12 09:12 AM
  6. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    My favorite line in the article...It is somehow Apple's responsibility to do this.

    Apple: Go into other countries, question their work policies, and change them.

    All other companies who use similar manufacturers with similar work conditions: Na, you guys are good.
    The one tiny difference

    and it is tiny, is that Apple is sitting on a HUGE chunk of cash, they should be looking to contract work to other facilities with better working conditions rather then sitting on huge piles of cash.

    BUT that isn't going to happen, as just like other company's they care most about the dollar, and don't care how they make it
    Sucroid, kbz1960, z1nsane and 2 others like this.
    05-31-12 09:21 AM
  7. brucep1's Avatar
    The one tiny difference

    and it is tiny, is that Apple is sitting on a HUGE chunk of cash, they should be looking to contract work to other facilities with better working conditions rather then sitting on huge piles of cash.

    BUT that isn't going to happen, as just like other company's they care most about the dollar, and don't care how they make it
    Not completely true..

    Apple's Foxconn To Double Wages Again - Forbes
    05-31-12 09:25 AM
  8. morlock_man's Avatar
    Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn will double the minimum monthly salary of its workers in mainland China by the end of next year, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.
    So the workers just have to survive another year and a half of inhumane conditions before they see any benefit... if they survive long enough.
    05-31-12 09:37 AM
  9. _StephenBB81's Avatar

    Wages are only part of the problem

    Apple over the next 18 months will double wages.

    I suspect if you look at the wage inflation rate in China, Apple is doing nothing more than staying slightly ahead of the normal increase in wages but making a spectacle about it, as they are very good at.

    When you read the complaints to many it is the hours expected of them and the extremely high demand for output, this could be alleviated by contracting another company to do some manufacturing. BUT that would not fit under the iron fist of Apple, Foxxcon works well under Apple
    05-31-12 09:43 AM
  10. brucep1's Avatar
    Wages are only part of the problem

    Apple over the next 18 months will double wages.

    I suspect if you look at the wage inflation rate in China, Apple is doing nothing more than staying slightly ahead of the normal increase in wages but making a spectacle about it, as they are very good at.
    If the wage inflation in China was slightly behind 100%, I'd think we'd be having a much different conversation.

    When you read the complaints to many it is the hours expected of them and the extremely high demand for output, this could be alleviated by contracting another company to do some manufacturing. BUT that would not fit under the iron fist of Apple, Foxxcon works well under Apple
    I'm not saying anyone should agree with their practices. Just pointing out that my corporate Blackberry wasn't made outside in the sunshine with a pot of gold sitting there for when the workers finished.
    05-31-12 09:48 AM
  11. robsteve's Avatar
    I'm not saying anyone should agree with their practices. Just pointing out that my corporate Blackberry wasn't made outside in the sunshine with a pot of gold sitting there for when the workers finished.
    But your BlackBerry was probably made either in North America or Europe using North American or European labour standards.
    05-31-12 09:53 AM
  12. Chrisy's Avatar
    I'm writing my business paper on the tolls of stress in the workplace, unsafe and unfair wages, and suicide in at work.

    Apple is one of my examples.
    05-31-12 09:56 AM
  13. morlock_man's Avatar
    If the wage inflation in China was slightly behind 100%, I'd think we'd be having a much different conversation.

    I'm not saying anyone should agree with their practices. Just pointing out that my corporate Blackberry wasn't made outside in the sunshine with a pot of gold sitting there for when the workers finished.
    No, but more than likely they earned, at the very least, minimum wage.

    China doesn't have a minimum wage, so it's a lot easier to get someone to work a high tech assembly job for just over a dollar an hour.
    05-31-12 09:57 AM
  14. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    If the wage inflation in China was slightly behind 100%, I'd think we'd be having a much different conversation.



    I'm not saying anyone should agree with their practices. Just pointing out that my corporate Blackberry wasn't made outside in the sunshine with a pot of gold sitting there for when the workers finished.

    I agree there were no pots of gold at the manufacturing facilities of your corporate BlackBerry, though the working conditions in Mexico are, and Canada, are far better than those in China, and there is a good chance your BlackBerry was made in 1 of those locations.

    as for the China wage inflation rate, in urban centers it has been going up about 20% in the last year.

    For Rural centers becoming ubran centers the wage it has gone up closer to 80%


    I suspect Foxxconn being a urban center unto itself actually can pay rural wages as they employ everyone so there is no competition for the better employee's
    05-31-12 10:08 AM
  15. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    No, but more than likely they earned, at the very least, minimum wage.

    China doesn't have a minimum wage, so it's a lot easier to get someone to work a high tech assembly job for just over a dollar an hour.
    China has had a minimum wage since 2009 I believe, though different districts control it, I believe the wage is controlled by the cities rather than the provinces like we do in Canada

    I think in the richer urban centres the minimum wage has climbed as high as $200 per month
    05-31-12 10:11 AM
  16. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    I agree no company is clean in this!

    because as I said above, they ALL are chasing the dollar

    but Foxxconn doesn't make BlackBerry devices as of yet, so they are not one in the same with Apple for assembling processes


    EDIT:
    It appears the post I was quoting and replying to was deleted whilst I replied
    05-31-12 10:13 AM
  17. brucep1's Avatar
    I agree no company is clean in this!

    because as I said above, they ALL are chasing the dollar

    but Foxxconn doesn't make BlackBerry devices as of yet, so they are not one in the same with Apple for assembling processes


    EDIT:
    It appears the post I was quoting and replying to was deleted whilst I replied
    Did not want to infuriate. Trying to be as neutral as possible..

    But Blackberry uses the same manufacturers as Apple for some parts.
    05-31-12 10:21 AM
  18. brucep1's Avatar
    The best analogy for this whole Foxconn thing that I can think of is the steroid era in Baseball.

    No one really cares about the .250 hitter who was juicing and hit 30 home runs.

    But Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, oh nooo, they were the worst!
    05-31-12 10:33 AM
  19. morlock_man's Avatar
    China has had a minimum wage since 2009 I believe, though different districts control it, I believe the wage is controlled by the cities rather than the provinces like we do in Canada

    I think in the richer urban centres the minimum wage has climbed as high as $200 per month
    But look at the hours worked by Foxconn employees... 12 hours shifts, 6 days a week. That's 288 hours a month.

    Did not want to infuriate. Trying to be as neutral as possible..

    But Blackberry uses the same manufacturers as Apple for some parts.
    Parts are usually manufacturered in large robotic assembly lines.

    It's full devices that are usually assembled by hand, which is what Foxconn is all about.
    05-31-12 10:35 AM
  20. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    Did not want to infuriate. Trying to be as neutral as possible..

    But Blackberry uses the same manufacturers as Apple for some parts.
    agreed

    Parts are made by the same suppliers

    and many of those small parts and made using machine processes, not man hour processes, it is the assembly of the devices that uses the most man power, and it is that man power that is being abused, by far more than just poor wages.

    I would venture to say Foxconn employee's have a zero locus on control
    05-31-12 10:40 AM
  21. brucep1's Avatar
    agreed

    Parts are made by the same suppliers

    and many of those small parts and made using machine processes, not man hour processes, it is the assembly of the devices that uses the most man power, and it is that man power that is being abused, by far more than just poor wages.

    I would venture to say Foxconn employee's have a zero locus on control
    Perhaps Blackberry was a bad example, even though I'm sure their working conditions aren't exactly stunning...

    But other big name tech giants do use China as manpower to put together some of their devices, yet you hear very little of them. Apple gets called out for being the bully on the block with something a lot of industry leaders do.
    05-31-12 10:45 AM
  22. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    Perhaps Blackberry was a bad example, even though I'm sure their working conditions aren't exactly stunning...

    But other big name tech giants do use China as manpower to put together some of their devices, yet you hear very little of them. Apple gets called out for being the bully on the block with something a lot of industry leaders do.
    I addressed why Apple gets called out though

    People want to Bully the people who have more money,
    They feel that the wealthy should have some higher moral compass than the poor (though that isn't how one amasses wealth usually)

    With Apples high margins, AND their lack of inventory at times, many feel Apple should be looking to spend more and "spread the wealth" to more company's but this would cost Apple Margins, which they don't want, nor do their investors, I don't fault them.

    The Working conditions at RIM Canada Manufacturing from those I know who have spouses who work there it is a great place to work, Can't speak to the Mexico working conditions,
    05-31-12 10:50 AM
  23. kbz1960's Avatar
    But look at the hours worked by Foxconn employees... 12 hours shifts, 6 days a week. That's 288 hours a month.



    Parts are usually manufacturered in large robotic assembly lines.

    It's full devices that are usually assembled by hand, which is what Foxconn is all about.
    People do that in the US but at least they get paid overtime. There are also many here who work 3 and 4 minimum wage jobs just to eat and have a roof over their head.

    I'll just take my first missing comment as being to real for someone.
    brucep1 likes this.
    05-31-12 10:52 AM
  24. morlock_man's Avatar
    Perhaps Blackberry was a bad example, even though I'm sure their working conditions aren't exactly stunning...

    But other big name tech giants do use China as manpower to put together some of their devices, yet you hear very little of them. Apple gets called out for being the bully on the block with something a lot of industry leaders do.
    Apple is getting called out because they're making record profits off a foundation thats a step above slave labour!

    As much as you try to avoid it, every time someone picks up the new iPad, they're supporting a giant corporate machine that works people in a 3rd world country to death.

    @kbz1960 Yeah, but working 12 hours a day in the US, you earn at least 5 times more.
    Last edited by morlock_man; 05-31-12 at 11:02 AM.
    05-31-12 10:56 AM
  25. hootyhoo's Avatar
    http://forums.crackberry.com/showthread.php?t=695953

    http://forums.crackberry.com/showthr...63#post7120263

    http://forums.crackberry.com/apple-i...gation-697228/

    http://forums.crackberry.com/showthr...12#post7160812

    This has been beaten to death already.

    Many people are comparing wages in China to wages in North America and you can't really do that. $200 in China will go a lot farther that it will in the US. China also has one of the highest growth rates of the middle class in the world. I guess some forum members don't remember that not too many years ago that most Chinese were very poor nor do they remember the images of streets clogged with bicycles and scooters. Now, due to rising incomes, they have the same traffic issues as most modern economies because they can now afford cars.

    China is developing. Give it time. Their wages will rise in the natural course of an evolving economy (which by the way has only been open for a relatively short time) just like it did in the US and Europe.
    05-31-12 11:58 AM
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