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Foxconn labor conditions barely improved, says SACOM

updated 11:28 am EDT, Thu May 31, 2012

Bosses imposing 'humiliating' discipline on workers, group says

Little has changed at Foxconn since it and Apple agreed to make changes in the wake of a Fair Labor Association report, says Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour. The activist group recently visited several Foxconn factories and interviewed 170 workers, and claims that rights violations "remain the norm," involving high production targets, inhumane treatment, and evidence of broad salary cuts. "The frontline management continue to impose humiliating disciplinary measures on workers," a SACOM report reads.

The group charges that even though basic pay has increased, overall salaries have dropped after the reduction in overtime. Some workers are nevertheless being saddled with unpaid overtime as they try to meet higher production quotas.

Geoffrey Crothall of China Labour Bulletin, another activist group, says that he hasn't seen "any real evidence of any significant changes" at 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 suggests that Foxconn could improve its situation by allowing truly representative unions. "If they can move towards a more democratic system where the workers have a voice in their pay and'll find a much more content workforce."

Reuters quotes one employee surnamed Wang, who has worked at a Foxconn complex in Guanlan making iPhones and other products for the past two years. "The work pressure is still great," he comments. "There hasn't been much change. We are still being pushed very hard." Another anonymous worker is said to back up Wang's statements.

Foxconn is defending its position, saying it will cooperate with the FLA to improve conditions. "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," an email statement reads. Last month, however, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou openly used the term "sweatshops" when referring to his company. "What's wrong with sweatshops?" he asked Chinese workers visiting Taiwan. "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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Some left wing activist group grasping for headlines. Note the push for unionization. Probably funded by the AFL/CIO. Meanwhile union membership in the United States is on a steep decline but these guys don't seem concerned about that do they. I wonder why.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. mac_in_tosh

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You must have been Hanitized - blame it all on the left and ignore the very real dire conditions where Apple products are manufactured.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Where's the proof that any of their claims, survey results and interviews are actually real?

    Sorry to dis the apparently well-meaning but in the post-Daisey era, there is no reason to trust the well-intentioned any more than the corporations they purport to criticize. Basically, in defending the likes of Daisey with arguments that run along the lines of " doesn't matter if it's true or not, if it gets people talking about the issue..." totally abandons any moral high-ground that you might, heretofore, have possessed.

  1. slboett

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give this a rest...

    It's up to the CHINESE to fix this, not us, not Apple. Since when did other countries come into the US and worry about our working conditions? Answer: never. The workers and country need to do this - just like we did here. It's not easy - nothing worth while is.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Again, fire the executive

    management, and floor management. If they can't be trusted to plan and change conditions for the better, then toss 'em. They aren't on board with "The welfare of our employees is without a doubt our top priority..."

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why not ask the workers?

    When Apple cut back on overtime, the workers complained. They asked why their hours were being cut. They wanted to work the hours they did. Is that a strong work ethic or Stockholm Syndrome?

  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No winners if this group wins

    If unionization happens in China, the cost goes up, or the factory flushes the workers and starts over. It will increase the cost to produce in China, but the US is not any where near ready to benefit by returning work to our shores.

    We just don't have the manufacturing infrastructure anymore to make anything like iPhones or iPads. Likewise, our regulations, state and federal, make it far to expensive to move the work here, regardless of any cost increases in China.

    As anti-union as I may appear in all of my posts, I will admit that workplace safety is what started the modern labor union movement in this country, and every union I have dealt with is very proud of this herritage. This is something that China in culture and in governance does not value, and would benefit from this sort of reform. I still feel that Apple's involvement in supplier ethics would be the preferred method over unionization, but that comes from my distaste of what almost all labor unions in the US have evolved into. I can't echo enough Steve Job's assessment of the teachers' unions as one of the most sterling examples as to why unionization is not the answer when you care about the product you produce.

    I fully support true worker guilds, which focus on maintaining skill proficiency within their profession, and supply competent labor at a fair rate on as-needed basis. Those are rare beasts these days.

  1. Mechanic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What b****

    These are the same b**** that accused apple of poor working conditions at foxconn and then were found out to have no facts to base there accusations on. They should go work with greenpeace there two peas from the same lying pod.

  1. AngryFanBoy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    to hear the reactionary anti-union talking points espoused here. Why do we have a 5 day work week? Unions. Why sick days? Unions. Why benefits of all types? Unions. Safety in the workplace? Unions. Union workers fought and literally DIED so that you could enjoy decent working wages, benefits and conditions. It's astonishing to hear you swallow the endless misinformation shoved down your throat by the wealthy "job creators," whose only goal is to increase their own wealth and concentrate political power at ANY cost to the working class and to the country.
    Please extend your thoughtfulness outside the protective bubble of what benefits you personally in the short run. There is a world of hurt waiting for you, thanks to your willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty. Good luck worshiping your corporate overseers!

  1. Sandman619

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Did they expect another result ?

    ' The group charges that even though basic pay has increased, overall salaries have dropped after the reduction in overtime '

    The statement speaks for itself

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