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Jobs defends iphone sweatshop

Discussion in 'Technology' started by alexd, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    Apple boss defends conditions at iPhone factory

    Apple boss Steve Jobs has defended conditions at a Taiwanese electronics firm that produces the firm's popular iPhone, following a spate of suicides.

    "Foxconn is not a sweatshop," he told a conference in the US.

    Mr Jobs said that Apple representatives were working with Foxconn to find out why 10 workers had killed themselves at a factory in Shenzhen, China.

    An eleventh worker recently died at another factory in northern China.

    In total, there have been 13 suicides and suicide attempts at Foxconn factories this year.

    Foxconn has said that it will give its assembly line workers a 30% pay rise.

    The firm had previously said that it would offer a 20% pay increase to its Chinese workers, who earn 900 yuan (£90) per month at entry-level.

    "We hope the hike in wages will help improve the living standards of the workers and allow them to have more leisure time, which is good for their health," an official of Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai precision told AFP.

    Hon Hai Precision is the world's largest maker of consumer electronics, and employs 800,000 workers worldwide, mostly in China.

    Foxconn makes a range of products for manufacturers including Apple, Dell and Nokia.

    The deaths have shone a spotlight on working conditions at the factory, where workers - often from rural China - work up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

    But Mr Jobs defended the conditions.

    "You go in this place and it's a factory but, my gosh, they've got restaurants and movie theatres and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it's pretty nice," he said.

    Mr Jobs addressed a number of other issues at the All Things Digital conference.

    Last week, Apple overtook Microsoft to become the world's largest technology company by market value.

    "For those of us that have been in the industry a long time, it's surreal. But it doesn't matter very much, it's not what's important," Mr Jobs said.

    "It's not what makes you come to work every morning."

    He also claimed that Apple's controversial move to block Adobe Flash animation and video technology from its popular iPhones and iPads was "a technical decision".

    "We didn't start off to have a war with Flash or anything else," he said.

    The comments are the latest step in a long-running dispute between Apple and Adobe over the Flash platform.

    from BBC
  2. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    What I'd like to know is whether the suicide rates at other large city-factories like the Foxxcomm one are similar, elsewhere in China, where they make things other than Apple products. As in, I really doubt that it makes any difference that Apple's products, or anyone else's for that matter, are produced in these factories, and I also think Apple has very little to do with the suicides, or could do much to prevent them. The way that China structures work environments - basically creating little cities around factory complexes where tens of thousands of employees work less than 100m from their homes... that's universal. It's also kind of constricting. Honda just experienced one of the first work stoppages in China this past week. Imagine, a strike in China! Things are changing over there. It's extremely likely that as workers demand better treatment and wages, China will start to lose its edge on manufacturing to less regulated countries like Indonesia.

    I think it was actually a good thing that Apple was involved in this in that the company's high profile brought attention to an issue that is likely widespread in China - this is just the first we've heard of it.
  3. dstarr

    dstarr TRIBE Member


    There was a pretty decent discussion of this on a recent Engadget podcast (or Engadget mobile podcast) I listened to just this morning as I was catching up and they mentioned a few interesting points.

    One of them was the # in the factory.... in the article, they say they employ 800k worldwide but on the podcast, they mentioned there may be somewhere in the league of 200k to 300k in one factory location.. so that's a HUGE number of employees.

    They also point to larger companies like Dell that would be using up WAY more labour in China than Apple because they do more manufacturing there.

    So yes, I think Apple is just getting the press because everything Apple is huge news these days... Apple vs. Adobe.. Apple iPad.... Apple iPhone 4G.....

    seems like all you have to do if you're a journalist is mention Apple...
  4. Dialog

    Dialog TRIBE Member

    IIRC Dell and Nokia also use the exact same Foxconn facility.

    Interesting, one Gizmodo commenter asks the readers to look into/care about the suicide rate of US Military personnel
  5. Wiseman

    Wiseman TRIBE Member

  6. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    so the general suicide rate for canada is higher than that of foxconn's sweatshop?

  7. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    WHO: Suicide rates

    (per 100,000)
    China: Males 13.0
    China: Females: 14.8

    Canada: Males: 19.5
    Canada: Females: 5.8

    USA:Males: 17.6
    USA:Females: 4.1
  8. oddmyth

    oddmyth TRIBE Member

    In other words its pretty much a non-story.

    However now Foxconn employees will be some of the best paid factory workers in all of China.

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