ABC’s iFactory Shows Truth About Foxconn
As we reported earlier, ABC had planned to show the the truth about the working conditions in the Foxconn.
ABC’s Nightline aired the program iFactory: Inside Apple. Apple gave unprecedented access to Foxconn to ABC’s Bill Weir, where iPhones, iPads and Macs are assembled.
If you have read the earlier reports that we reported on this issue, there was nothing new here. ABC provided context as to why people go to work at Foxconn. ABC also provided some background on the working conditions at the plant.
Weir started by touching upon the Apple mythos, then went straight into how iDevices were made. For example, it took 141 steps to make an iPhone. Apple products are largely made by hand. Weir pointed to a tiny iPad camera module, noting that with two 12-hour shifts each day, Foxconn could crank out 300,000 of those in a day. According to ABC, it took 5 days and over 300 hands to assemble an iPad. And robot hands were not used. Weir observed that most people were young and nobody looked over 30.
Coincidently, Weir arrived to shoot the program on a day when thousands of your people had lined up to apply for jobs at Foxconn. The only requirement seemed to be a valid national ID card. Weir pointed out again and again, the demand for Apple products was so high that Foxconn could not keep up. They hired en masse and trained people for days before putting them to work. Most workers came from impoverished rural areas for the work. People in villages felt that their life was better with young people not around.
Working conditions were not inhumane. The nets placed around dorms and other buildings with high floors may look strange. These nets were designed to make potential suicide victims think twice before jumping. There have been various news reports in past about suicides at Foxconn. Louis Woo, a Foxconn executive, explained how Tim Cook flew to China. Cook had helped to organize counseling for people to prevent further suicides.
The area where Foxconn factory is located was really nice. Workers work for 12 hours. They stay in dorms with seven other people in a room. However this should not be seen as unusual China has the largest population in the world.
Workers also sleep during breaks. They have two one-hour breaks to eat. However, the executive who led Weir around the factory explained the naps after meals were a Chinese tradition.
Foxconn also takes care of recreational facilities for workers. There are internet cafes, soccer fields, and educational facilities like English classes. ABC did not give any percentage about how many workers used these amenities.
Fair Labor Association (FLA) said that they would conduct “bottom up” interviews to ensure decent working conditions.
Foxconn gets contracts from many companies but only Apple is criticized for being associated with Foxconn. This is because of Apple’s popularity and visibility in the world of technology and to some extent, bias from one section of media towards Apple. Otherwise, Foxconn provides some of the best working conditions in China.
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