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Foxconn factory conditions still terrible, says journalist

updated 01:05 pm EST, Mon December 27, 2010

Mangers impose strict discipline on long hours

In spite of pay raises and promises to reduce overtime, working conditions can still be dehumanizing at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory campus, says French journalist Jordan Pouille. Foxconn is Apple's primary manufacturing partner, responsible for assembling devices like the iPad and the iPhone. It also assembles products for other companies, such as Sony's PSP handheld, and HP's printer cartridges.

Last May, Pouille helped to expose sweatshop-like conditions at Foxconn, in which people worked virtually non-stop for marginal pay. A rash of suicides was linked with the situation. Pouille suggests however that things are mostly unchanged, with people working 13-hour shifts six days a week, or even a full seven days during times of peak demand. Breaks are said to be minimal, limited to 10 minutes every two hours.

Workers must surrender cellphones to guards before entering, and are subject to extremely strict discipline from managers. They are forbidden from speaking or listening to music while on shift, and even smiling or sitting down.

Most assembly workers are reported to be in their late teens or early 20s and from poor provinces like Henan, Hunan or Sichuan. The main improvement since Pouille's last visit is said to be luxuries. "Once a week, owing to their bigger salary, workers are able to treat themselves and enjoy simple pleasures like a funny haircut or a good candy. They like showing [off], and the bridge over Foxconn main gate now looks like a catwalk," he writes.

The journalist is critical of Apple, arguing that the company should find a supplier capable of providing better working conditions. The current state of affairs is described as a throwback to the "old Industrial revolution."

by MacNN Staff





  1. TomMcIn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The French Solution

    This from a journalist in a country that wants the rest of the EU and world to fund their low productivity and early retirement. I am sure this journalist has a location in France in which there are workers that will meet the demand for such products.

  1. Sukoshi

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You posted a private video.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    throwback to the "old Industrial revolution."

    That is about right, China is going through its revolutions as we did a 100 years ago. If conditions mirror that of a 100 years ago for us, that is about right. Over the next few decades China will come into its own with stronger labor laws, unions and the such. We had to grow the hard way so does China. Just because we have been there and done that does not mean China can skip a important part of growth. We value worker rights and our conditions of labor because we had to work for it to make it happen. Thrusting China into our current ways wont do any good. Let China grow as we have.

  1. bredlo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Easy point of view, when neither you nor anybody in your family is slave labor. China knows better, this isn't a necessary or important part of growth, and it's even more unacceptable today (since we have firsthand reports of what's happening) than the first time around in the US.

    I can afford to pay $10 more for an iPad if it means humane conditions for workers... and so can you. Quit the excuses.

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pouille has been exposed

    As a breathless fantasist, that basically makes a lot of sh*t up. If you did even a smidge of research, you'd know that.

    I watched his whole "expose" film and I didn't see any bad conditions or anythign wrong with the way they treat the workers. All I saw were happy chinese guys and girls going to work.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You think conditions here are bad, check out the factories where your precious high label clothes are made.

    Apple needs to move more of its manufacturing here to the US, canada, and even mexico vs china.

    - A

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