Working conditions at Foxconn way above average, workers too bored, though

Working conditions at Foxconn way above average, workers too bored, though
Chinese workers making iPhones and iPads have way better conditions than garment factories and the general average for China. That’s what the head of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) visiting the factories saw days after starting a visit of 8 major Apple suppliers in China.

Auret van Heerden, president of the FLA, shared his initial surprise about better than expected conditions at the Chinese factories, but warned that this is not a conclusion yet. He also warned that while working conditions per se are above average, it seems that there’s an underlying problem with montonous, boring work.

"I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory," Van Heerden said. "So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It's more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps."

Apple has opened up for an inspection of its factories recently in an attempt to prove its words that it cares deeply about everyone of its workers. The company has responded to a report accusing it of negligence towards its overseas workers, which could have been the reason why we’ve been hearing reports about Foxconn employee suicides and shifts lasting more than 24 hours straight.

The FLA head noticed a lot of young people coming from rural areas to work at Foxconn, and after leaving their family many of them would seem emotionally crushed with the monotonous shifts. Van Heerden stressed that they also lacked emotional support.

As to the Fair Labor Association itself, it’s an independent body formed under President Bill Clinton in 1996 to minimize workers’ exploitation overseas. It’s trasnparent about its work and that’s what makes it tough - Apple’s suppliers could be visited without prior notification, and the reports of the FLA are public.

When it comes to Apple’s Chinese partners in particular, FLA will ask 35,000 employees to tell them about their working conditions under the condition of anonymity.

source: Reuters



43. jim3000gt

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 13, 2011

China has now even copied the Ford F -150 pickup truck. There is no end to what tech they steal from us. Talk about infringment.

29. dreammixer

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Well now that Apple is the ONLY tech company to have joined the FLA and they're allowing public inspections of their facilities (again only company to do that) and the report came back clean we can put all the crazy sweatshop rumors to bed. Unless of course you're remix, sniggly, andro or one of the other blind Apple hating fanatics that are frothing at the mouth with anger right now.

15. jim3000gt

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 13, 2011

Do you think the pay rate in the Chinese factories are based any differently then here. There are many in the USA that have 10 hour overnight shifts and pay minimum wages that cannot support a family. Look how many people here that work full time and are still eligible to collect food stamps. Others can not even afford healthcare and you guys are worrying about China? The only sad thing thing about this post is that some of you are almost old enough to vote :-(

14. tluv00

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 18, 2007

The inspected the factory itself so to expect physical working condition in a plant that manufactures electronic parts for the world's largest tech company it's going to be clean and have great manufacturing technology. The questions where about pay, how management treats their employees on a person to person level and living quarters. That is where the actual issues may lie. If the plant was a dump then the parts wouldn't work.

12. tluv00

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 18, 2007

Tim Cook was overheard saying "So what if they're bored. It's not like they're killing themsel...............oh yeah."

11. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

does anyone else read the source? first the source says that besides foxconn, quanta, pegatron, and wintek still need to be evaulated. and here is a quote from the source about the problems at foxconn: ""There might not be a clear policy on hiring, that could lead unwittingly to discrimination against hepatitis B sufferers," he said as an example. "There might not be adequate documentation that could lead to the risk that workers get hired with fake documentation, that underage workers come in ."" but largely foxconn checks out. and im happy for that.

9. Bigbluetundra

Posts: 45; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

My complaint with this assessment is that it was baseed on his perception of the style of work. The only thing he sees is that its boring? What does that even mean? That's totally subjective. He should be focused on hours worked per shift, employee suicides, payscale, quality of life living in the dorms for the factory they work in. Remember, if they get caught compalining to each other about how crappy thier job is, they can literally get 12 years in jail for 'trying to form a union'. And all this gy can come up with is that a 'clean room' manufacturing setting is cleaner and more streamlined than a clothing factory. No s**t go collect your check...

7. Mozarrt

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

Well good for Foxconn for being above average, Although they still have a lot of work, I can't imagine it being any worse than other Android/Windows Phone handset factories. Haters will always find an excuse to criticize a certain company.

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

they need to come back in 6 months without a worldwide announcement. cue Gallito and his pro slave labor stance in 5...4....3...

6. paulyyd

Posts: 340; Member since: Jan 08, 2011

lol dude really? i like how in other articles you were all like "oh can't wait to see the report from the FLA blah blah", and bam look what happens. do all of us a favor and just stop

8. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

You realize that the article mentions the working conditions are above average when compared to garment factories. "Dude there's nothing wrong with me having slaves, I feed them twice as much as the guy down the street."

16. Paden

Posts: 262; Member since: Jul 07, 2011

"...the guy down the street" is every single other US business who has manufacturing plants in China. I'm not saying its right or wrong, but our economy is based heavily on cheap Chinese manufacturing. If you believe that US businesses uprooted their manufacturing from the US to have the same factory overseas you must be extremely naive. Cheaper labor, less regulations, and its easier to implement change due to less political and legislative restraints. America has dug their own grave on this one. Don't blame companies. Blame consumers for demanding cheap products. Companies only provide products that match customers wants and needs.

23. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

it was apathy that allowed us to dig that grave, and its the same apathy that all you crazed ibots are displaying that allows it to continue. you ARE part of the problem.

25. Paden

Posts: 262; Member since: Jul 07, 2011

Remixfa - Most things, good or bad, related to Apple is sensationalized because websites, authors, magazines, newspapers get more views and attention because of it. Look at what happened a week ago. When Whitney Houston dies, Apple was ridiculed for jacking up the prices of her albums. However, Apple gives control of the pricing to the record labels themselves. It was later found out that Sony Music raised those prices. Websites will sensationalize any stupid little article that has the slightest thing to do with Apple. Hence, PhoneArena, hence The Verge, hence any thing tech.

26. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

was not aware of the price hike. thats normal when a star dies though. they did the same thing when jackson died. not an issue with me. thats supply and demand. the demand went up, so the price went up. what exactly does that have to do with apple-foxconn? they can "sensationalize" all they want, but the truth is still the truth. it doesnt change a single thing about the 17 suicides, exploding unventillated factories, mass suicide threats, or 36 hr work shifts. the ONLY thing that changes that is consumers refusing to buy the products until things change... which is why you and every one that continues to blindly defend apple are part of the problem.

33. Paden

Posts: 262; Member since: Jul 07, 2011

That's an example of things that get sensationalized. Just like this. Just like iPad rumors. Just like anything Apple.

20. dreammixer

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Exactly if the report came back that the conditions are horrible these guys would be screaming about how credible the report is.

24. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the only report that i find credible is the ones about 17 suicides last year, installing jumper nets, changing people's pay out so that no one gets their paycheck if they die, building a factory in 90 days and not installing VENTILLATION which of course then exploded killing and injuring dozens, oh and the mass suicide attempt just a few weeks ago at the foxconn-Xbox plant. yea, pardon me if i dont believe THIS report that paints a rosy picture on the backs of all that death.

10. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

Remix is only hating now, well I didn't expectn otherwise, so it's ok I guess.

17. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

there you go folks.. whether is accurate or not.. is in the books... this will silenced a few .. not remix...

19. dreammixer

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Remix you've now been proven wrong about the working conditions. It's time to let it go.

22. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

and amazingly, on cue, every blind apple defender is taking the report ad nauseum, since it defends their shiney apple logo. sleep well tonight kiddies, knowing the slave labor that serves you those high profit margin devices wont be off shift for another 20 hours or so.

31. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

well unless I am physically there.. I have to believe the reports... I mean you did.. when the horrible conditions were reported.. why not believe this one... at least this report is more credible than YOUR opinion remix... let it go.. we all know you hate Apple.. u made your point.. now breath...

36. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

no, chickenhead, i believed the reports of the mass suicides and jumper nets and foxconn admitting to their hours and calling them animals.

47. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

to finish this topic... nothing you do will fixed what happen in the past.. let it go.. Apple is doing something about it.. which is more that before... so turn that frown upside down on that issue... second issue... Snoop Dogg call woman who**es and Bit**s which in my mind is more demeaning... don't feed of everything you read... you are smarter than that...

48. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

cover up PR bull is not "doing something about it".

4. nastynaps

Posts: 93; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

When my mom tells me she's coming to visit I clean the apartment. No surprise here.

2. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Sounds like the new blankets and extra meals were passed out before the Geneva Convention guy got there.

3. XiphiasGladius

Posts: 813; Member since: Aug 21, 2011

I bet the word "MAGICAL" is applicable to that.

13. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Lets wait until this report is finishe to critisize it.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless