Apple makers are cracking the whip on its Chinese workers once again as demand for iPad and iPhones intensifies.
Click to enlarge
Workers in Apple’s Chinese factories, operated by contract suppliers Foxxconn, continue to be subjected to slave labour style conditions including over working and horrendous conditions at two of the plants in the southern regions of Shenzhen and Chengdu.
And according to an NGO investigation, Foxxconn treat its employees “inhumanely, like machines.”
This includes working almost one hundred hours of overtime a month in one case, which is three times the legal limit and also being allowed into taking only one day off in 13, according to The Guardian.
And all this work is for a wage packet of just around $189.50 per month (1,350 yuan).
In times of high production, like for the first iPad as well as the iPhone and now with the iPad 2, it seems things get worse for the workers, according to the report compiled by Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour.
Steve Jobs’ giant’s recent results showed Apple sold 18.65m iPhones – two million more than expected – and 4.69m iPads in its most recent quarter. And its biggest production worry is that shortages of components could hinder the company’s results in the next quarter.
Even murkier findings uncovered by the report include employees being forced to enter an anti suicide pact, telling workers to “treasure their lives” after a spate of employee suicides last year.
The factories also include worker dormitories which appear to have prison like conditions including being forbidden from using electronic devices like a hairdryer.
One worker, found to be using a banned device was forced to sign a letter of confession stating “It is my fault. I will never blow my hair inside my room. I have done something wrong. I will never do it again.”
However, Foxxconn, one of the biggest makers of IT equipment in the world, deny any link between the suicides and plant conditions, claiming the “suicides were not connected to bad working conditions. There was a copy effect. If one commits suicide, then others will follow.”
And this isn’t the first time Apple suppliers have landed in hot water over its working conditions.
Earlier this year, 137 factory workers at another China based plant were seriously injured from a chemical used in making the glass screen for the iPhone, called n-hexane.