It was less than a year ago that the plight of Foxconn workers over in China came to light. The horrible working conditions and pay at the Chinese factory put Apple in particular in the limelight.
iPhone 5 Foxconn factory in limelight again
Apple had promised to investigate into the matter and assured action would be taken. It was only a few months later when it all came back with the release of the iPhone 5. At the time, Foxconn supervisors were quoted as saying that the high standards and difficulty in manufacturing the new iPhone 5 created even more problems for workers. This was well publicized again across the US and even joked about on shows like Saturday Night Live (SNL).
Well it looks like nothing has still been done. Envoyé Spécial, a French show, sent its reporters undercover to the Zhengzhou Foxconn factory recently where the iPhone 5 is being manufactured, and the same factory Apple promised to investigate and “fix” at the start of 2012. What they found was the same terrible working environment and pay.
Workers were living in under construction dorms without running water or electricity as all efforts were put towards expanding production lines instead of bedding and utilities. In fact, the dorms which had electricity weren’t using it after supervisors warned workers of multiple deaths caused by fire from overloaded circuits.
On top of horrible working conditions, the pay was still low. As the French reporters stated, much of the $290 monthly salary collected by workers went back into the Foxconn as the company charged for housing, insurance, foodand even psychological tests to weed out suicidal workers. Putting in up to e150 hours of overtime every month and working 3 months at a time without breaks, one worker told reporters that after the mentioned costs, he/she was only left with $340 per year.
The iPhone 5 is selling well at this time and Apple has managed to keep up with the demand since the start of last month. However this new report will overshadow their recent sales record in China.
Maybe it is time for Apple to consider moving its production to the USA just like it has with a couple of iMacs.