Apple and Foxconn: at it again?

Or maybe they’ve never stopped.

Workers building Apple iPods, mostly young women from rural areas of China were working 15-hour shifts, housed in dormitories from which outsiders were banned, and   they were paying about half their wages for room and board charges, said the BBC  in 2006, quoting  a UK newspaper.

An article in the Mail on Sunday had  reported workers received as little as £27 a month, doing 15-hour shifts making iPods.

 The reality distortion field

Apple is held in near religious awe by people who buy its over-priced products.

But an article in the Mail on Sunday alleged workers “received as little as £27 a month, doing 15-hour shifts making the iconic mp3 player, the BBC story  said, going on,

Workers  “lived in dormitories housing 100 people and outsiders were banned.”

Apple said it  didn’t tolerate its supplier code of conduct being broken.

It still says, “Apple is committed to the highest standards of social responsibility across our worldwide supply chain. We insist that all of our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes. Our actions — from thorough site audits to industry-leading training programs — demonstrate this commitment.”

And, “Our commitment to socially responsible manufacturing leads us to continually raise our standards, especially when we learn of an issue not covered by standard industry practice or our Supplier Code of Conduct. In 2011, for example, we began to look even more deeply into manufacturing processes at our suppliers. We enlisted internationally recognized experts, who worked with us to identify specific manufacturing processes that we could improve to make supplier facilities safer.

And, “In 2010, Apple worked with our supplier Foxconn to launch an employee assistance program (EAP) at its facility in Shenzhen, China. Workers there now have access to free psychological counseling, including a 24-hour hotline, to get advice on their personal and professional concerns. Over the past year, we began working with three more suppliers to establish EAPs at their largest facilities, customized to meet the needs of their workers.”

Meanwhile,  “The Fair Labor Association is claiming to have secure assurances from Apple and its supplier Foxconn that they will make sweeping changes to workers’ pay and conditions at the latter’s Chinese plants in line with the FLA’s latest report, but critics have argued they don’t go far enough,”  said The Register on June 1, continuing.

“As Apple CEO Tim Cook wraps up his eventful trip to the People’s Republic this week, the non-profit released the findings of its initial month-long report into conditions at three Foxconn plants in China, at Guanlan, Longhua, and Chengdu.

 “It found substantial problems with working conditions including excessive overtime, health and safety risks and management dominated unions.

“Firstly, the FLA reported that all three factories breached its limits of 60 hours per week including overtime and local Chinese limits of 40 hours a week plus 36 hours overtime per month. In some cases employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required day off.

“The health and safety issues at Foxconn are well documented, since a fatal explosion rocked the Chengdu plant in 2011, and the FLA said that 43 per cent of the workers it interviewed had experienced or witnessed an accident.”

Number One

China’s Foxconn  factory  was,  and still is the place where  many (most?) Apple components  are made,  but conditions were so appalling employees were quite  literally killing themselves,

“We are saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn” and are “deeply committed to ensuring that conditions throughout our supply chain are safe and workers are treated with respect and dignity Apple told the Wall Street Journal.

It’d said much the same three years earlier, when ’slave labour’ conditions were first reported at Foxconn.

At the time, Apple promised it was, “committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity.”

The disgrace hadn’t escaped  the notice of  Twitter Tweeters.

Now,  “On the other side of the world, a young girl is also swiping those screens,” says  a petition on sumofus.org continuing.  “Six days a week, twelve-plus hours a day, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them. She spends those hours inhaling chemicals that are never disclosed to her. For her labor, she makes less than $17 a day, is forced to work unpaid overtime, and, when her supervisors want to punish her, she is humiliated and forced to clean toilets.

“Sound like a horror story? According to recent reports, scenarios like this are a waking nightmare for many workers in Apple’s Chinese supply chain.

Every day, tens of millions  use Apple products  and in May of the same year  Foxconn,  a story in Simtesrer stated,  “took the number one position in iSuppli’s annual ranking of global EMS (electronics manufacturing services) providers, bumping Singapore-based Flextronics from the number one spot.

“In 2005, Foxconn generated revenues of US$27.3 billion, up 62% from US$16.8 billion the previous year. This far exceeded the US$15.6 billion in revenues posted by Flextronics in 2005, according to iSuppli.

“In 2004, Foxconn actually was the leading global EMS provider, according to iSuppli’s revised rankings for the year. The Taiwan-based company achieved US$16.8 billion in revenues in 2004, putting it above Flextronics’ US$16 billion total. iSuppli previously ranked Foxconn as second for the year, but subsequent financial reports prompted iSuppli to raise the company’s ranking in 2004.

“US-based Jabil Circuit, which achieved the second-largest revenue gain on a dollar basis among all EMS providers in 2005, saw its revenues rise by US$1.5 billion during 2005, which amounted to only 14% of Foxconn’s US$10.5 billion sales increase for the year. In contrast, Flextronics, Sanmina-SCI, Solectron and Celestica experienced sales decreases of 3%, 9%, 12% and 4%, respectively, during 2005.”

Put Apple  and its PR together with the lamescream media, and you have a marketing farce that can’t be beat.

Apple Tunes music, iPads, PCs and cell phone products are no better than similar devices, of which there are legion. They are, however, usually  a lot more expensive.

But thanks to the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field and the sycophantic traditional press corpse, a visitor to Planet Earth could be forgiven for thinking iPods and iPhones are all there is.

Are  Apple and Foxconn still guilty of human rights violations? Only the people who work for them directly or indirectly  know for sure,  but one thing is certain: Apple has steadfastly supported Suicide Central, Foxconn, where more than a dozen workers killed themselves.

RSS feed http://www.myblogdammit.net/?feed=rss2

  Follow me on Twitter@jonnewton8