Apple’s major supplier Foxconn has been publicly criticized over concerns about its dismal labour practices. The latest scandal pointed out Foxconn has harshly notified an ex-worker, who had half of his brain surgically removed after a factory accident a year ago, to get out of the current hospital in Shenzhen city. This is the most recent case that throws a harsh new spotlight on labor rights in China. Full story after the break.
The Chinese worker named Zhang Tingzhen, 26 years old, who survived an electric shock and fall at a Foxconn plant in the southern China of Shenzhen last October. He lost his memory and unable to speak and walk properly after surgery. His sister, Zhang Hongling said:
“He used to be very smart and was an electro-mechanical engineer. He learned computer science by himself. Now he doesn’t recognize a simple word.”
Zhang’s father holding a jar containing large fragments of his son’s cranium, said:
“He calls me ‘mother’ and calls my wife ‘father’. He can only mimic words you ask him to say, it is meaningless.”
The family is battling Foxconn over the accident and compensation. A case has been filed with Shenzhen’s Longhua district labor arbitration panel and was heard on Oct 24.
Foxconn is paying Zhang’s treatments bills. And since July, Foxconn has repeatedly texted Zhang’s family demanding them to remove Zhang from Shenzhen hospital and submit Zhang to a disability assessment in Huizhou, or otherwise it would have to cut off funding for his treatment. But under the Chinese labor law, Zhang’s family does not have to listen to Foxconn, because a provincial law stipulating that injured workers can remain in treatment for up to two years before they must be assessed for disability compensation. Zhang has only been hospitalized for one year. Also, the doctor of Zhang said Zhang would be at risk if he travelled to Huizhou, since Huizhou is some 70 km away from Shenzhen. Foxconn said it would be willing to return Zhang to the hospital after the examination, but still, Zhang’s family is not willing to fulfill Foxconn’s request.
Why does Foxconn threatening Zhang’s family to take Zhang away from Shenzhen to Huizhou for merely a disability assessment?
According to Zhang Guangde, the worker’s father, Foxconn is saying that his son signed his employment contract in Huizhou, Guangdong, so Zhang could not be assessed in Shenzhen. But Zhang’s father noted his son is employed in Shenzhen, not Huizhou. This has been proved by the lawyer who represented Zhang’s family on the court. Actually, there’re many workers at Foxconn have the same problem. They work in Shenzhen but their contracts say their employer is in Huizhou. But why? Perhaps it’s because Foxconn could possibly pay a much lower compensation fee for an industrial accident, since wages and compensation levels are all substantially lower in Huizhou than in Shenzhen.
Zhang’s father also accused the company of delaying his son’s medical treatment, said:
“A doctor at Shenzhen No 2 People’s Hospital told me that if my son had been rushed to a hospital immediately after he fell, and if the hospital had had the proper equipment and qualifications to treat his condition, he might have needed only several months of hospitalization and would have fully recovered.”
“It was almost 90 minutes before my son was sent to Shenzhen Longhua People’s Hospital, and nobody has told us why it took such a long time.”
Moreover, Zhang’s family is rejected by Foxconn’s factory managers to take back his son’s personal belongings including his ID card, social security card and employment contract. Foxconn explained the reason that rejected the family’s request is because some of the items are missing.
At the moment, Foxconn’s funding can only provide a monthly allowance of 11,000 yuan ($1,800) plus treatment costs, where the family still had 200,000 yuan ($31,800) in debt to pay for medicines. The family was originally building a three-storey house for Zhang’s impending marriage before he was injured back home in central Henan province. Zhang’s father said:
“The project has since been abandoned and all the building materials we bought have been washed away by rain. But these workers still have to be paid. My whole life is over.”
What a bloody hell factory!
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