The whole world is now watching Apple’s greatest supplier Foxconn, after the tragic suicides happened in 2010. Foxconn has really done an impressive job on meeting the deadlines for manufacturing the massive amount of Apple’s iPhones, iPods, iPads, and MacBooks. However, they could not control the workers’ stress and recently, child labour becomes another problem in Foxconn and other Chinese factories.
According to Apple, 91 children under the age of 16 were discovered to be working last year in ten Chinese factories owned by its suppliers, while there are 42 children working on the production line in one of the factories. What’s more, Apple has a just-published Supplier Responsibility report to explain about it.
“In recent years, Chinese factories have increasingly turned to labour agencies and vocational schools to meet their workforce demands,”
“We learned that some of these recruitment sources may provide false IDs that misrepresent young people’s ages, posing challenges for factory management,”
False IDs? This may be true, since there are lots of kids in mainland China who need to give up studies and look for a job to help meet family expenses. So they would try to get some ‘experts’ to create fake IDs to qualify for a job. You may ask how Apple is going to work with Foxconn to handle the underage workers, well, Apple said it had been “aggressive” in returning children to their families and had forced factories to cover the costs of education for the underage workers for six months, or until they reached 16, “whichever is longer”.
Previously, we have reported the Foxconn suicide cluster and we can see that the workers get low salary while working non-stop as a machine in the ’sweatshop’. It’s pathetic, and we believe there are some other factories doing the same thing. In the supplier report, we found Apple had actually done something to fix the suicide cluster. Apple sent Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook to Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory in June 2010 with two leading suicide experts. The group met with Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou and commissioned an independent review of more than 1,000 workers. The conclusion? The group was convinced with Foxconn’s quick action on solving the incidents by establishing a 24-hour care center, and attaching large safety nets to the factory buildings to prevent suicides. This makes Apple to continue to work with Foxconn.
I hope you have read the article about Meizu’s factory, which introduces the environment and welfare in the factory. Comparing with Foxconn, workers seemed to be working happier in Meizu’s factory, since there are no suicides at all over there. We are not saying Foxconn is a terrible factory, but we believe there’s a problem on the relationship and communication between managers and workers in Foxconn.
More Coverage: Apple Supplier Responsibility Report
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