iPhone assembly workers at Pegatron work less overtime, still feel underpaid

Photo by Quai Shen, Bloomberg.

Photo by Quai Shen, Bloomberg.


Ever wanted to have a look inside one of the largest iPhone assembly factories in China? Tough job, as Foxconn and Pegatron's facilities are closely guarded, incredibly secretive, and hardly known for their media transparency. Bloomberg, however, managed to send a reporter inside Pegatron's factory outside Shanghai. Spanning the area of almost 90 football fields, the facility houses close to 50,000 employees.

Pegatron and Apple have been working to refute long-time accusations of unfair, downright hazardous conditions that Chinese workers are being subjected to, and are keen on showing their accomplishments to Western media. The manufacturer implemented a new ID system which tracks every worker's time, wages, and expenditures on dorm fees and lunch. It has helped to push compliance with the established maximum of 60 working hours to 97% in 2015, a 5% increase from the year prior.

Three years ago, much of the staff used to register unreasonable amounts of overtime in an effort to boost their pay, sacrificing their health and productivity in the process. Now, workers who come close to the 60 hour mark or have worked six days in a row have their attempts to enter production halls automatically blocked.

Alas, employees still prefer to work more hours because of low wages. According to data sourced from the ID system, the base salary of an employee who helped the others access the automated information terminals was 2,020 yuan ($310), while assembly line workers who pull overtime bring home 4,200 to 5,500 yuan ($650–$850). Most don't make enough to afford an iPhone 6s, which costs 5,288 yuan ($814) for the base 16GB model.

Around two years ago, Pegatron and Apple had to account for an undercover report by BBC investigator who came back with a positively disturbing story. The journalist claimed his ID was taken away, the safety and health exam was carried out verbally, workers are told to give their consent to night shifts or leave, and work days inside the factory often exceeded 12 hours. Clearly, Apple has kept true to its commitment of closely monitoring and improving the conditions for workers at Pegatron, although both companies can obviously do better.

source: Bloomberg

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30 Comments

1. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

So they force people to work less, but are still paying them so little, so in essence while trying to comply with standards, instead of paying workers properly they still pay them less and at the same time, don't let them work overtime which they can feel a need for doing, because they are paid what they are paid? I guess from companies point of view they are complying with rules and saving money, win win. But for the worker, yeah while it seems a win, it isn't a great one, with a loss in potential earnings too.

9. jeevanand88 unregistered

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHZvrY2iVmc The dark side of Apple.....!!

12. QuasarExod

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

Company of Sins.

21. QuasarExod

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

Companies of Sins.

22. Mxyzptlk unregistered

That's only the tip of the iceberg.

26. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

But who make the biggest margin and can increase salary easier? ;)

16. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

Also keep in mind that these workers aren't going home after work each day like the rest of us. They live in a dorm on the property. In essence it's a sort of forced labor as these people would starve and there is no other job option around in most cases. It just must be so damn depressing. Horrible.

17. QuasarExod

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

When iusers are showing off their phone, they're actually showing off the workers' life.

30. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

That's actually the minimum wage right now in China. My dad used to have a factory in China 10 years ago, the assembly workers normal would get the minimum wage for around 2-3 years before a raise, the supervisors would normally get 75-100% more than the workers. I don't blame the company though, I bet to do such technical work, they had to train the workers 10-15 weeks just before any real work. The workers can always quit, but they don't, because other factories aren't gonna pay them any better. Yes, I do have sympathy for them, but I don't think Apple or the factory is to blame, the government is. Apple is a large corp. so I think it gets a lot of press, that's pretty much it. I bet Sony, Xiaomi, even Huawei doesn't have any better work condition (they all let foxconn do the assembly, huawei actually does manufacture by themselves, but I saw some news about couple engineers dying in there because of the stress and work load.)

2. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

without the poor there would be no fabulous wealth.

3. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

The question comes to mind, do we 'need' either extreme? on the rich/poor scale.

6. ananthu07 unregistered

from the extreme rich's perspective, YES. From extreme poor's perspective, NO.

34. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well yeah, and from someone at neither extreme, it seems no also, I really don't see the cultural advantages to having riches being distributed as insanely lopsided as it.

23. mrochester

Posts: 947; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Yes, because if we don't we've got what's called communism.

27. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Well maybe Communism is better?

31. FBIsurveilance

Posts: 43; Member since: Aug 10, 2014

Lol. China is a communist nation (they'd say it's socialism, but same difference), and it's not looking good, isn't it? Democracy and Communism are run by politicians, whom in nature are crooked and greedy for power. The only difference between the two was it's much easier for a communist leader to do whatever they want compared to a democratic country who could still get sued by its people.

35. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Nope, there is no real communistic nation as far as I know, not has there been one, even ussr was not communistic, but a lot of people don't want to believe that, because communism has been made a 'bad' word. Go read about what communism is supposed to be with its variations, you'd see it is highly unlikely to ever happen due to greed, wikipedia's article is fairly good. Star Trek is basically the true communism ideal or very close to it.

4. choata15

Posts: 20; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Why are u posting this phonearena? Like why do we care lol?

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

"Because people think that iPhone assembly workers at china always work overtime and underpaid, so we need to fix that... using media" - Apple

15. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

Ummm yeah, we do care. It's phone related and this is a phone related website.

19. belovedson

Posts: 1060; Member since: Nov 30, 2010

Theres ton of people who do care. Maybe you just need to shut it

24. mrochester

Posts: 947; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Surely highlighting corporate responsibility initiatives such as this is a positive thing? Brings attention to the issue and shames companies who aren't as proactive as Apple.

28. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Really? They have better margin than any other smartphone OEM on the planet. So they should push for worker to be better paid they can afford it anyway. Apple is a shame companies just like all others big company out there. Playing around with word and media wont change this fact.

7. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

"you pay what you get" phrase is really fitting in here.

10. dimas

Posts: 3286; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Apple and Pegatron. Sounds like Decepticons have found some strong alliance in the human world.

11. tokuzumi

Posts: 1821; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Every time I read "Pegatron", I keep reading it as "Pentagon".

13. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

Dorm fees. Here's a novel Idea Apple. Pay these workers "dorm fees" at the very least.

20. belovedson

Posts: 1060; Member since: Nov 30, 2010

Apple make your companies open door so reporters can visit and report on working conditions any time.

32. BRYLYNT

Posts: 89; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Work in grocery retail in america then get back at me. They want you to do 60 hours of work in 40 and threaten your job when you cant.overtime is a no no .These pussies got it made, they even get room and board.

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