No, you have not accidentally stumbled upon an Electronics blog. This is still the Green Living blog.
Last week, the New York Times ran an article about the abysmal working conditions of electronic manufacturing plants in China. While HP and Dell plants are included, the article focused mainly on Apple.
Of course, any company expects its employees to be efficient and productive, but the Foxconn plants, from what I have read, employs modern slavery to please Apple’s demands for products.
According to the article, workers often have to work 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. Ninety percent of the workers are young – between the ages of 18 and 24. The working conditions are horrible – it is said that some work such long hours, their legs swell. There have been reports of underage workers. The plant has crowded dorms, where workers live.
Well, most of them. Since last January, it is believed that ten employees have committed suicide, most by jumping off the roof of the four story dorm.
There are rumors that hazardous waste wasn’t properly disposed of. Last May, an explosion occurred in the Chengdu factory where iPads were made. Two employees were killed and more than a dozen were injured. Employees of another Apple supplier in China were injured when ordered to clean iPad screens with a poisonous chemical.
Former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health said if Apple knew about these conditions and didn’t act, “that’s reprehensible.”
Officials for Apple say the company is taking steps to make working conditions safer, having created a supplier code of standards and having an auditing campaign to keep manufacturers in check.
But, Li Mingqi, who was a manager at Foxconn in Chengdu, said, “Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost.” According to him, the welfare of the workers was of no interest to Apple.