Apple enslaves workers in China: 76 hours a week and more than 7 days
This is an attack on workers everywhere. When employers know
can get away with such abuse offshore, they are empowered to abuse
I see it in the Childers/Bundaberg farming area
backpackers. Fruit & vegetable picking and packing
employ a high % of backpackers make it hard for local
workers to claim
their entitlements - they know they are
I have often touted Apple products. But these are the old,
computers which run OS 9; the G4 was the last true Apple
G4s, although 10 years old, are still running strong - mine
newsletter is coming to you from a G4 running OS9, and I use it for
More recent Apple computers, and iPads and iPhones,
are really NeXT
machines - NeXT being the Steve Jobs company which took over
technology may be brilliant, but Apple has sold out to
(1) Apple enslaves workers in China: 76 hours a week and more
(2) Apple, Foxconn set new standard for China work
(3) Apple pledge to share more of its revenue with Chinese
(1) Apple enslaves workers in China: 76 hours a week and more
finds rights violations at Apple supplier
Updated March 31, 2012
An audit of three factories pumping out coveted Apple gadgets
abuses of Chinese labour law, including employees working more
hours a week and more than seven days straight without a required
Along with excessive overtime and not always
properly for extra hours that were put in, the nearly
investigation uncovered health and safety risks and "crucial
"The Fair Labour Association gave Apple's
largest supplier the
equivalent of a full-body scan through 3,000 staff
three of its factories and surveying more than 35,000
workers," said the
watchdog's president Auret van Heerden.
its supplier Foxconn have agreed to our prescriptions, and we
progress and report publicly."
With 1.2 million workers, Foxconn, an
affiliate of Taiwan's Hon Hai
Precision Industry, is by far Apple's largest
and most influential partner.
While the audit found multiple violations
of labour law at the Foxconn
factories, it also found many of the workers
would like to work more
hours and make more money.
Mr van Heerden
says this sentiment is typical of migrant workers in China.
workers go to find work with a view to make as much money as
they can in the
shortest time as possible," he said.
"So they do push for extra hours,
especially overtime hours that are
paid at a premium."
The survey of Foxconn workers revealed the average age of workers
building Apple products was 23 and over 60 per cent were male.
than 6 per cent of workers in the three facilities were between the
16 and 18.
Almost all of the workers in Guanlan and Longhua had come from
countries or regions looking for jobs.
But in recent years
Foxconn has encouraged workers to move outside the
About 16 per cent of the workers surveyed said the dorms
much" crowded while another 19 per cent said "yes, a little",
per cent said the question was "not applicable".
revealed that 71 per cent of them do not think the factory
Nearly 48 per cent disagreed with the premise that the
canteens in the
factories were clean and hygienic.
Most of the
workers in the three factories were employed as "operators,"
making up less than 4 per cent of the worker population
in the two Shenzhen
factories, Guanlan and Longhua.
In Chengdu, nearly 11 per cent of the
workers were engineers, according
A majority of all those
surveyed said the compensation does not meet
their basic needs.
particular concern to workers was aluminium dust, which had caused
explosion in Foxconn's Chengdu factory.
Apple chief visits
response to the report, Apple says it has agreed to work with Foxconn
tackle wage and working condition violations at the factories that
its popular products.
Foxconn will hire tens of thousands of new workers,
clamp down on
illegal overtime, improve safety protocols and upgrade worker
and other amenities.
Apple announced the moves as the
company's chief executive, Tim Cook,
was paying a visit to
State media said he had met with vice premier Li Keqiang, the man
to be country's next leader, who told him foreign firms should do
to protect workers.
Apple and Foxconn are so dominant in the
global technology industry that
their newly forged accord will likely have a
substantial ripple effect
across the sector.
The deal may raise costs
for other manufacturers who contract with the
Taiwanese company, including
Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon.com,
Motorola, Nokia and Sony.
result in higher prices for consumers, though the impact will
because labour costs are only a small fraction of the total
cost for most
(2) Apple, Foxconn set new standard
for China work conditions
Friday March 30 2012
By Poornima Gupta and Edwin Chan
FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc and its main contract manufacturer
agreed to tackle violations of conditions among the 1.2 million
assembling iPhones and iPads in a landmark decision that could
way Western companies do business in China.
Taiwan's Foxconn Technology
Group, whose subsidiary Hon Hai Precision
Industry assembles Apple devices
in factories in China, will hire tens
of thousands of new workers, eliminate
illegal overtime, improve safety
protocols and upgrade workers' housing and
It is a response to one of the largest investigations
ever conducted of
a U.S. company's operations outside of America. Apple had
agreed to the
probe by the independent Fair Labor Association (FLA) to stem
crescendo of criticism that its products were built on the backs of
mistreated Chinese workers.
The association, in disclosing its
findings from a survey of three
Foxconn plants and over 35,000 workers, said
it had unearthed multiple
violations of labour law, including extreme hours
and unpaid overtime.
FLA President Auret van Heerden expects the
agreement between Apple, the
world's most valuable listed company, and
Foxconn, which supplies 50
percent of the world's consumer electronics, to
have far reaching affects.
"Apple and Foxconn are obviously the two
biggest players in this
sector," he said in an interview. "Since they're
teaming up to drive
this change, I really do think they set the bar for the
rest of the sector."
That could affect brand names that have contracts
with the Taiwanese
company, including Dell Inc , Hewlett-Packard ,
Amazon.com Inc ,
Motorola Mobility Holdings , Nokia Oyj and Sony Corp
The agreement is a sign of the increasing power of
Chinese workers to
command higher wages given increasing prices in China,
and an ageing
workforce that has led to labour shortages.
proposing this better deal," said van Heerden. "Their
competitors will be
obliged to offer a similar package just in order to
Working conditions at many Chinese factories supplying Western
are considerably inferior to those at Foxconn, experts
Still, labour costs are a fraction of the total cost of most
devices, so consumers might not see higher prices.
Foxconn's labour cost goes up ... that will be an industry-wide
and then we have to decide how much do we pass on to our
how much cost do we absorb," HP Chief Executive Meg
Whitman told Reuters in
Under the agreement, Foxconn said it will reduce working hours
to 49 per
week, including overtime, while keeping total compensation for
at its current level. The FLA audit found workers in the three
put in more than 60 hours per week on average during peak
To keep up with demand, Foxconn will hire tens of
additional workers and build more housing and
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who took over from the late co-founder
last year, has shown a willingness to tackle the criticism
"We fully support their recommendations," an Apple spokesman
share the FLA's goal of improving lives and raising the bar for
manufacturing companies everywhere."
But New York-based labour
advocacy group China Labor Watch said the
report failed to address the
workers' primary concerns.
"Until Apple shares a larger proportion of its
profits with its supplier
factories, workers will receive the same pittance
for a salary while
working around the clock," Li Qiang, the director of
China Labor Watch,
said in an emailed statement.
The agreement has
not gone down well with some Foxconn workers, either.
Chen Yamei, 25, who
has worked at a Foxconn factory at Longhua in
southern Guangdong province
for four years, complained that her salary
will drop to just over 2,000 yuan
a month (198 pounds) from over 4,000 yuan.
"We are here to work and not
to play," she said. "Our income is very
important." Another worker was less
"Working here is just so-so. Working conditions and the pay
right," said Li Wei, a 20-year-old who has worked at the Foxconn
for about a year.
"However there are around 100,000 people in
there, so sometimes the
feeling can be oppressive," Li said, who works eight
hours, or a maximum
10 hours, a day.
shares <2317.TW> fell on Friday around 1.3 percent,
rising market. Apple shares, which hit a record high
on Wednesday, dropped
1.3 percent on Thursday.
The report marks the first phase of a probe into
manufacturers across the world's most populous
Foreign firms have long grappled with working conditions in
dubbed the world's factory because of its low wages and efficient
coastal transport and shipping infrastructure.
against Apple swelled after reports spread in 2010 of a
string or suicides
at Foxconn's plants in southern China, blamed on
inhumane working conditions
and the alienation that migrant labourers,
often from impoverished
provinces, face in a bustling metropolis like
Shenzhen, where two of the
three factories the FLA inspected are located.
In months past, protesters
have shown up at Apple events - the rollout
of the new iPad, the iPhone 4GS
and its annual shareholders' meeting -
holding up placards urging the $500
billion corporation to make
Some have also
criticized the FLA for its close alignment with corporations.
Mike Daisey also did much to raise awareness of the issue
through his one
man show in the United States, "The Agony and the
Ecstasy of Steve Jobs".
His credibility was damaged though when it
emerged parts of his monologue
The FLA in its report sought measures
that will reduce working hours
while ensuring that migrant labourers - often
willing to pile up the
overtime to make ends meet back home - do not forego
Foxconn committed to building new housing to ease
multiple workers were squeezed into dorm rooms that seemed
Western standards. It also agreed to improve accident reporting
workers enroll for social welfare.
The FLA will conduct
onsite verification visits to make sure the
agreement is implemented, van
Apple is not the first U.S. consumer brand to respond to
working conditions at factories abroad making its
Nike Inc implemented wide-ranging changes to improve safety and
conditions after it was rocked by reports in the 1990s that its
contractors in China and elsewhere forced employees to work in
slave-like conditions for a pittance.
Yet even Nike stopped short of
Apple's and Foxconn's hiring and
income-boosting spree. Last month, Foxconn
said it was raising salaries
by 16 to 25 percent, and was advertising a
basic monthly wage, not
including overtime, of 1,800 yuan ($290) in the
southern city of
Shenzhen, Guangdong province - where the monthly minimum
wage is 1,500 yuan.
Future forays by the FLA over coming months will
contractors Quanta Computer Inc <2382.TW>, Pegatron
Wintek Corp <2384.TW> and other suppliers, all
about their operations.
reporting by Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing, Tan Ee-lyn in Hong Kong
Editing by Gary
Hill, Tim Dobbyn and Mark Bendeich)
(3) Apple pledge to share more of its
revenue with Chinese workers
pledge could lead to China wage hikes
By JOE McDONALD
A pledge by
the manufacturer of Apple's iPhones and iPads to limit work
hours at its
factories in China could force other global corporations to
hike pay for
Chinese workers who produce the world's consumer
electronics, toys and other
Foxconn Technology's promise comes as Beijing is pushing foreign
companies to share more of their revenues with Chinese employees. It
follows a report by a labor auditor hired by Apple Inc. that found
Foxconn was regularly violating legal limits on overtime, with factory
employees working more than 60 hours per week.
"I think whatever
Foxconn did will have an impact, certainly, on all
Chinese workers in all
trades," said Willy Lin, managing director of
Hong Kong-based Milo's
Knitwear, which makes clothing in three factories
in China for European
Foxconn, owned by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.,
limit hours while keeping total pay the same, effectively paying
per hour. Foxconn is one of China's biggest employers, with 1.2 million
workers who also assemble products for Microsoft Corp. and
Japan's Toshiba Group, which employs 32,000
workers in China to make
goods such as refrigerators and TVs, said it too is
taking measures to
reduce overtime work and create safe working conditions
at its factories.
China has long been a low-cost manufacturing center for
goods sold under
foreign brand names. But wages already were rising quickly
compete for workers and communist leaders try to push the
country up the
technology ladder to make more profitable
After a lull following the 2008 global crisis when Beijing
minimum wage to help exporters compete, Chinese workers have
big pay hikes over the past two years, though salaries still are
Foxconn responded to a spate of suicides by
employees at one of its
mainland factory campuses in 2010 by more than
doubling its basic
monthly salary to 1,800 yuan ($290). The same year,
Toyota Motor Corp.
and other Japanese automakers granted pay hikes following
a wave of
strikes that had tacit government support.
leaders have promised to double the country's minimum wage
from 2010 levels
The minimum wage in Shanghai, one of the world's most expensive
is about 1,200 yuan ($200) a month after an increase of more than 10
percent last year. The northern city of Tianjin raised its minimum wage
to 1,070 yuan ($175).
Beijing has tightened enforcement of wage and
hour rules "because there
has been a general lack of compliance -- greater
than in other
countries," said K. Lesli Ligorner, head of the China
for law firm Simmons & Simmons.
"China is trying
to make sure that at least at the lowest level of
unskilled workers there
are greater protections in place for them," she
manufacturers along China's booming east coast also have
to pay more to get
and keep workers as rising living standards in the
countryside mean fewer
people migrate to cities for factory jobs.
U.S. and European clients
might push Chinese suppliers to pay more so
they look better in front of
consumers, Ligorner said.
Higher wages at Foxconn "will have a ripple
effect," she said.
Pay and working and environmental conditions are a
sensitive issue for
U.S. and European companies, some of which have been
activist groups. Companies such as Nike Inc. and The Walt
Disney Co. set
specific standards in contracts with producers of toys,
and other goods sold under their brands and send auditors to
"We mind our corporate social responsibility and demand
contract manufacturers strictly follow local as well as
rules on labor and environmental protection," said Henry Wang,
relations director for Taiwan's Acer Inc., the world's fourth-largest
Acer's laptop computers are produced by
contractors in Kunshan, west of
Shanghai, and in Chongqing in the
Wang said he didn't know whether the report on Foxconn by the
Association, an American industry group, would lead to changes at
He said suppliers already are required to "strictly follow" rules on
wages and working conditions.
Higher wages will be easier for
manufacturers to absorb if labor is a
small portion of their total
Research firm IHS iSuppli estimates that Apple pays $8 for the
of a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S and $188 for its components. iSuppli's
figures suggest that if Apple were to absorb a Foxconn wage increase to
keep pay level and cut the work week from 60 hours to 49, it would pay
less than $2 extra to have an iPhone made.
Other companies earn
smaller profits and might find higher wages harder
to pass on.
costs in China already have prompted some companies in
industries such as shoes and textiles to migrate to
Vietnam and other
Lin, the garment manufacturer, said his company
employs about 1,500
people in Guangdong province near Hong Kong. He said
entry level pay has
more than doubled over the past five years from 600 to
($95-$110) a month to about 1,500 yuan ($240).
lower than that, you wouldn't find the workers willing to do
it," he said.
AP Business Writers Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and Elaine Kurtenbach
Tokyo and Associated Press writers Annie Huang in Taipei, Taiwan and
Foster Klug in Seoul, South Korea contributed.