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Taiwan: ipod sweatshop

The breaking news of ipod sweatshop in China has been picked up by Taiwan Citizen journalism (zh) website Coolloud as the contracting company Foxconn (registered in Hong Kong) is owned by a Taiwanese multi-national corporate Hon Hai. According to the report workers work 15 hours a week while earning USD 50 a month. The Shengzhen (Southern part of China, near Hong Kong) based factory campus is surrounded by many security guards. If a worker leaves the production line, they would be punished. Male workers’ punishment is doing “press-up”!

1 comment

  • Michael Baun

    Based on statements at Apple: Apple is either professionally incompetent or is unconcerned about worker abuse.

    To express shock, by Apple, about the working conditions in China is not surprising since it is a standard PR Tactic. To appear to do something about the problem, while not affecting the bottom line, is also standard procedure.

    The bottom line is that Apple Computer knows:

    1) The human resources required to assemble an iPOD.
    2) The human resources supplied to meet Apple’s labor demands.
    3) The demand placed on these resources by orders.

    The idea that Apple was shocked by the conditions at these plants infers merely the idea that Apple computer executives, at a high level, either can not perform simple multiplication and division, (Units Requested to be Assembled over a period of time * Resources Required for Assembly)/Total Resources Available, or engage in contract labor without concern. Take your choice, professionally incompetent or unconcerned.

    The unconcerned part seems to be definitely indicated by overtime limitations being removed when lack of production would cost Apple. And I might add lack of production because of incompetent planning.

    It is also reinforced by the idea that Apple would threaten to remove said contract, knowing the game here is nothing short of a strategy that encourages human rights abuses in a vicious cycle of cover-up and survival.

    It is also possible that Apple has a production incentive program. That if the company is able to provide more then a certain baseline quantity they get a higher per piece price. If this is the case Apple is responsible for the problem in a very direct way. I would like to see them either confirm or deny this claim, together with their claim their global mangers with MBA degrees can not add, subtract, multiply or divide. I wonder what school they graduated from. Perhaps it was Harvard, they are well known for producing inferior graduates like this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

    The fix would be simple, not require of an outsourced vendor more then they can supply and maintain workforce standards.

    Apple’s responses have indicated that they just do not get it – it is business as usual for them. In all fairness, if you are concerned about human rights and exploitation, just buy someone else’s MP3 player, made at the same plant. When confronted about the situation their MBA’s will suddenly be unable to do simple math also.

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