Apple and Foxconn respond to ABC’s iPad factory expose

Apple and Foxconn have each responded to various claims made in ABC’s Nightline segment that took a look inside two Foxconn factories in an effort to shed light on their working conditions. Responding to a comment made by one worker who claimed she carves aluminum shavings from 6,000 iPad cases each day, Apple said this was likely the result of a miscommunication. “In manufacturing parlance this is called deburring. Her line processes 3,000 units per shift, with two shifts per day for a total of 6,000. A single operator at Ms. Zhou’s station would deburr 3,000 iPads in a shift,” Apple told ABC. Read on for more.

ABC noted in its report that the starting wages at Foxconn’s factories are so low that workers don’t even have to pay income taxes. “We have over 75 percent of the employees in the category of earning at least 2,200 RMB ($349/month) basic compensation standar,” a Foxconn spokesperson told ABC. “That means they are earning 13.75 RMB ($2.18) per hour. If they work overtime on the weekend, they will earn 27 RMB ($4.28) per hour. In order to reach 3500 to be taxable, they will have to work 47 OT hours to reach 3,500.”

The spokesperson continued, “If the overtime hours are in weekdays, they have to work around 63 hours per month to reach that level of salary to be taxable. Your statement is only true when applying to the entry-level workers while over 75 percent are already over the probation and earning more than 2,200 RMB basic salary.”

While nothing startling was uncovered by ABC’s look inside the “iFactory,” a number of concerning reports surrounding facilities maintained by Apple’s supply and manufacturing partners have emerged recently. The Fair Labor Association’s preliminary inspections found “tons of issues” in Foxconn’s factories, one report alleges that Foxconn hid underage workers while ABC filmed in its factories and two workers claiming to have been poisoned by a cleaning agent while working in a plant that assembles iPhone displays on Wednesday pleaded for the public to demand action.

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