Tuesday, June 20, 2006

iPod City. The Dark Side of Apple?

Since us Kriton boys (myself included) have our iPods and Apple laptops, I though I need to bring this news to everybody’s attention:

The British newspaper Mail On Sunday claimed in their recent report that Foxxconn Electronics, a huge Taiwanese industrial electronics contract manufacturing corporation based in Longhua in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in southern China, which manufactures, among many other gadgets and cool things, iPods for Apple, pays their workers as little as $50 dollars per month for working 15 hours a day. The workers, and the company employs over 160 000 of them, working in what Mail on Sunday calls ‘iPod City’, and in sweatshop –type environment.

Here are some quotes from the article:
“When they're not on the assembly lines, they live in secluded dormitories that each house 100 people and prohibit visitors from the outside world. The workers are allowed "a few possessions" and a "bucket to wash their clothes." "We have to work too hard and I am always tired. It's like being in the army," Zang Lan, one of the workers at Longhua, told the Mail. "They make us stand still for hours. If we move we are punished by being made to stand still for longer. The boys are made to do pushups."

“According to the report, iPod Nano is made in a five-story factory called "E3" that is secured by armed police officers. Another factory in near Shanghai manufacturers iPod shuffles and is completely surrounded by barbed wire. At this facility, 50,000 workers are housed outside the plant and earn about $99 per month. However, they must pay out of pocket for their accommodations and food, "which takes up half their salaries." One security guard told the Mail that the iPod shuffle production lines are staffed by women workers because ‘they are more honest than male workers.’"

Foxxconn Electronics of course “sternly denies” these claims as false and calls them a "vicious attack". Foxxxonn also claims that its "employment practices are completely in accordance with the requirements of Shenzhen labor supervision departments." And apparently they have been actively making improvements to workers' living conditions, providing safe and well-equipped dormitories complete with free laundry service, sports facilities, libraries, and other facilities.

Apple Corp. of course has responded to this by issuing a statement saying it is looking into the report. "Apple is committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible," the statement said, according to Macworld UK. Apple also claim that "it does not tolerate any violations of its supplier code of conduct."


Hennyman said...

I read about this in the morning. Interesting case - hard to say how much truth there is in these allegations.

Kriton Music said...

I refuse to believe in any of this. Ignorance is bliss.