Foxconn has found itself once more embroiled in a suicide scandal after two apparent staff suicide attempts within four days were witnessed by workers from the company’s Zhengzhou plant in central China’s Henan province. The two factory worker, one male and one female, attempted suicide by jumping from buildings between April 24 and April 27. The man has died, while the fate of the woman remains unknown. Sources claim that the Zhengzhou factory entered “silent mode” from the beginning of April, restricting workers from discussing anything unrelated to work while on company premises. Many workers have complained about the new rule, which some believe is related to recent media reports about Foxconn products not meeting quality standards …
As Chinese New Year is approaching, hundreds of millions of migrant workers are preparing to make the trip home to celebrate with their families. However, around 1,000 workers at the Beijing division of Foxconn, were angry to work overtime ahead of the Chinese New Year because it’s bad and low pay. On Tuesday, they went on strike at the firm’s cafeteria amid a dispute over end-of-year holiday privileges and bonuses. The photos on the internet showed workers were sitting round a table, talking to management, while others showed a large crowd of workers crowded into the factory canteen waiting for an answer.
UPDATE: Foxconn confirmed to TNW in a statement that there weren’t any strike at the factory, it was merely a town hall meeting with numerous employees, and it has made no disruption to its operation.
The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing has an intriguing new take on the debate over Apple’s product and the people who make them. A young Chinese artist, which was already an Apple consumer, got an assembly-line job at Shenzhen Foxconn to make iPads, and forty-five days later he used his wages to buy one. As an exhibit, he put the iPad on a pedestal, tacked up his uniform and badges, and framed his contract. The effect, on a white gallery wall, is a strangely addictive ready-made tablet about the intersection of money, aspiration, and technology. So did the experience in Foxconn change his perceptions of Apple one way or the other ?
[UPDATE] Around 1,000 workers have gone on strike over poor pay, overcrowded accommodation and low quality staff meals at a supplier linked to Foxconn in the city of Fengcheng in southeast China’s Jiangxi province. The industrial action began on Thursday and continued on Friday. “Riot police” was reportedly intervened by using a water cannon as well as physical violence to suppress and arrest demonstrators.
Foxconn has admitted to hire workers as young as 14 at its factories in Shandong province to ease its current labor shortage. The manufacturer said the minors will return to school and has formally apologized to them and to their parents. The Taiwan-based company published the results of an internal investigation, which has found its factories in Yantai hired over 3,000 young workers from local vocational schools. The students were aged between 14 and 16 and around 56 of them were less than 16 years old, in violation of national labor laws. Foxconn will dismiss the staff responsible for hiring underage workers …
Foxconn has been hit by a second bout of labor unrest in less than two weeks as one of its largest factories in China is hurrying to churn out the iPhone 5. More than 200 quality control employees at the plant in Zhengzhou refused to work in protest over their high-pressure work conditions. Foxconn said the incident was triggered by an emotional standoff between the quality control personnel and production-line workers. Workers and government officials in Zhengzhou has revealed of a continued strain on labor relations that was exacerbated by the pressure caused by the iPhone 5 orders. For example, there have been complaints from consumers about scratches on the back of the new device, so Apple tightened the rules for quality control, added pressure to improve its quality inspection of each iPhone 5 to the strictest standards. Workers at the plant are feeling pushed to work to ridiculous amount …
Hong Kong Newspaper AppleDaily interviewed an injured Foxconn’s worker who surname Zhang in a hospital nearby Foxconn Taiyuan’s plant yesterday after the mass riot. Zhang is from Henan province. He worked in Foxconn for about a month and he is now lying in bed with multiple injuries. Zhang pointed out that the Chinese polices who wears helmets and wielding plastic shields had randomly beaten people up inside the factory’s dormitory. Workers were told to squat on corridor and put their hands on their head with no clothes on. Zhang recalled that one police had trodden on his head and said “You’re lucky that we didn’t kill you!“.
Remember our breaking undercover journalist story being reported a week ago? Regarding the most recent riot, we have contacted the same undercover journalist called Wang Yu via QQ (China’s most popular IM software) and he has something to say. He made 3 very close friends during the 10 days stay in the Taiyuan Foxconn factory and he talks about their miserable life in Foxconn.
A Taiwanese news report says that assembler Pegatron scored 50 percent to 60 percent of production orders on the upcoming iPad Mini, Foxconn will supposedly get the rest. Pegatron will handle majority of the production work compared to Foxconn, and to be able to come up with such verbage would mean the iPad mini is well on its way to production, or could even be in the midst of it already. It seems like Apple is not about to put all of their eggs in a single basket. Industry analysts claim that it is possible to manufacture up to 5 million iPad minis each month with the workload split between the two manufacturers …
UPDATE SEPT 24 – Part 1: Taiyuan Foxconn has gone strike !
UPDATE SEPT 24 – Part 2: We have got in touch with the undercover journalist.
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