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Author Topic: Foxconn Spurning Apple Code of Conduct  (Read 639 times)
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« on: May 20, 2010, 07:00:07 am »

Foxconn Spurning Apple Code of Conduct

Well, maybe not officially, but if you were to read the Apple Supplier  Code of Conduct document (PDF), then read an account of working  conditions at Foxconn, it'd seem someone has some explaining to do.Via  Gizmodo, we learn of a special investigation launched by one of China's  newspapers, the Southern Weekly, in the wake of the sixth suicide  attempt in the month of April. Going undercover, 20-year-old reporter  Liu Zhi Yi, spent 28 days documenting deplorable working conditions at  the Shenzhen, China Foxconn plant. Operating round-the-clock, Shenzhen  makes iPods, iPhones and iPads, as well as Mac minis and a variety of  products for other companies including Sony, Dell, HP, Nintendo, and  Intel. Regular followers of Apple news may recognize the company's name  in association with an engineer who apparently leapt to his death after  losing an iPhone 4G prototype and being beaten – some say tortured – by a  plant security guard. Since April, in the last three weeks  alone, according to Malcolm Moore of the Telegraph newspaper in Britain,  Foxconn's Shenzhen plant has seen 30 more suicide attempts. This  cluster of suicides seems to lean heavily toward leaps (or falls) out of  windows and skews toward the under 25 years old recently hired  demographic. In more than one instance, victims of Foxconn falls have  been described as having "cuts" on their person.Many blame the  company as workers complain of long hours after signing a "voluntary"  document that overrides Chinese labor law regarding overtime, as well as  Apple's stated policy of  restricting "a workweek ... to 60 hours,  including overtime." Spending all day standing, one worker described his  favorite activity as dropping stuff on the floor. That way he could  squat down and momentarily rest his legs and feet. Liu also reported  that workers have only a brief time to eat or sleep on their shifts and  work every day except for public holidays, often on shifts of up to  fifteen hours.And as a reward for this grueling schedule,  workers receive salaries beginning at a whopping 900 Chinese yuan,  roughly $130. Per month. Such salaries aren't even enough to purchase  the shiny gadgets they build, so workers content themselves with Apple  knock-offs and their dreams of saving up enough money to escape. That  and apparently attempting suicide.In response to what even  Foxconn officials recognize as a growing issue, the company has brought  in a Buddhist monk to try and exorcise "evil spirits." No report yet on  whether or not that has met with success, though the company has also  brought in more monks to pray for the souls of the suicides. Possibly  more successful, Foxconn also claims to have hired 100 counselors to  help employees deal with their stresses. Of course, one can't  help feel that Apple is turning a blind eye to these sorts of issues.  Foxconn's had repeated complaints and issues including security guards  attacking a Reuters reporter on the street in China and Foxconn workers  in Mexico setting fire to the factory after supervisors tricked them  into working overtime without compensation. When you add in the recent  story of Wintek exposing its employees to known toxin N-hexane, Apple's  Supplier Code of Conduct sounds less like a set of rules and more like a  collection of helpful suggestions.
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