It is no surprise to anyone that many factories in China do not have adequate infrastructure, nor does it give employees good working conditions. A reporter from Envoy Spcial, public broadcaster program France 2, sneaked into Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou (China), one of the largest from Apple's main supplier.
According to the report, the infrastructure of the areas destined for the dormitories and the living spaces of the employees of the factory is very precarious. There, some buildings inhabited by workers are still under construction and without elevators. Many dormitories do not have running water or even electricity. In one of the three videos in the story, which you can view below, a manager even warns workers not to plug their devices into the sockets that are working, as eight employees had already died from the fire caused by overloaded circuits.
In addition to the problems with the infrastructure, the matter also revealed several problems related to employees themselves. Some even went so far as to reveal that the administrators of the school where they study forced them to work at the factory for very little, or they would not receive their diplomas. Also alarming is the still high amount of overtime that some workers are forced to work. According to some labor groups, many employees accumulate 150 extra hours of work, resulting from periods of uninterrupted 90 days.
Check out the three videos that make up the subject of the program Envoy Spcial (in French):
The program concluded that all of this happened due to the high demand for the iPhone 5, since this factory leaves a large part of Apple smartphones. The website Engadget contacted Apple and Foxconn to clarify the facts. Below, the responses of the two companies (free translation).
Apple is committed to the highest standards of social responsibility through our worldwide supply chain. We insist that all of our suppliers offer safe working conditions, treat employees with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible processes wherever our products are made.
Foxconn takes responsibility for its employees very seriously and we are working hard to give our 1.4 million employees in China a safe and satisfying work environment. We are committed to our strict policies, Chinese government laws and our commitments to our customers, to ensure that the highest levels of health and safety standards are applied in our operations and in all locations across China.
As the largest private employer in China, we provide compensation and benefits that are far greater than the salaries imposed by the government and that are competitive with all of our industry colleagues everywhere we operate.
We are all committed to the process of continuous improvement of our work policies and practices and we defend that, through regular reviews of our operations by internal groups, customers and government inspectors, if any room for improvement is noticed, they will be noticed. immediately resolved. An example of our commitment to this process is the Action Plan that we are currently implementing in our operations in China after the review of some of our operations by the American NGO Fair Labor Association. A follow-up review by the FLA showed that we are successfully implementing the Action Plan and are ahead of the schedule for completing the elements of this program.
Foxconn is not perfect, but we are making progress every day and we continue to lead the industry in maintaining the needs of China's new generation of workers. This progress is reflected in our success in recruiting and retaining employees and in the reports of many members of the international media who visited our operations and who had the freedom and independence to speak with workers. Our goal is to continue to meet our responsibilities to our customers, employees and the communities where they operate.
In Brazil, workers at the Foxconn factory in Jundia (So Paulo) went on strike in October. They claimed that the biggest problem was not housing, but food.
Despite all this hype about the quality of the work environment at Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou, escaping from devices built in precarious factories is not as easy as failing to buy iPhones, iPads, iPods, MacBooks and other Apple products. Unfortunately, many other companies also have their products made in China or other countries in Asia where working conditions are far from ideal. You just have to try to find some electronics in your house that were not manufactured there.
Ma is even planning to take part of its production to the United States. This is a reality that many of us cannot see, but we have constant contact with.