A report on Monday from NPR has provided new insights into an explosion that injured 59 workers in an iPad plant last December. The incident occurred at a plant run by Pegatron subsidiary Riteng Computer Accessory Company, which manufactures back panel parts for Apple’s iPad tablet, among other products. Last week, NPR met with 25 workers who were hospitalized from the blast, all of whom criticized the plant’s safety and said Apple had inspected it just hours before the explosion. “I saw a fireball coming towards me,” said He Wenwen, an employee who was calibrating his aluminum polishing machine when the explosion hit. “I lost consciousness for a few seconds. Later, when I opened my eyes, I saw dense smoke and fire everywhere. I felt scared, really scared. I could hear people crying and screaming.” Read on for more. More →
Foxconn workers claim the manufacturer transferred underage employees to other departments or did not schedule them to work overtime in an effort to avoid discovery during the Fair Labor Association’s investigation of its facilities, reports AppleInsider. Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) project officer Debby Sze Wan Chan was told by two Foxconn employees that the manufacturer “prepared for the inspection” by hiding the child laborers. “All underage workers, between 16-17 years old, were not assigned any overtime work and some of them were even sent to other departments,” Chan reportedly said. Another Foxconn worker said she had recently been allowed three breaks a day during the audit, an increase from one. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the company “cares about every worker in our supply chain,” however many workers don’t feel the care that the CEO talks about. “Most of the time, the workers are aware of the presence of Apple’s representatives inside the factories,” said Chan. “It is not the problem that Apple doesn’t know the real problems at their suppliers. They know, but it is only because they do not care.” More →
Foxconn confirmed on Friday that it has raised wages for its factory workers by 16% to 25%, Reuters reports. The original device manufacturer, which is the No.1 maker of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, has raised wages to 1,800 yuan ($285) per month and may again raise them above 2,200 yuan ($349) for workers who pass a technical examination. In comparison, pay three years ago was 900 yuan ($143) per month. “As a top manufacturing company in China, the basic salary of junior workers in all of Foxconn’s China factories is already far higher than the minimum wage set by all local governments,” the company said in a statement. Foxconn has come under fire on numerous occasions due to allegations of poor working conditions, however the company is working to improve. “We will provide more training opportunities and learning time, and will continuously enhance technology, efficiency and salary, so as to set a good example for the Chinese manufacturing industry,” a company spokesperson said. Foxconn’s announcement comes on the heel of the Fair Labor Association’s preliminary assessment of the company’s plants, which are said to have conditions that are better than most.
On Monday, Apple announced that the Fair Labor Association would be conducting audits of facilities managed by its Chinese suppliers. Foxconn Technology Group, whose factories manufacture the iPad, has come under fire after a rash of worker suicides, fatal explosions and allegations of poor working conditions. Working conditions at Foxconn, however, were found to be far better than other facilities throughout the country, reported Reuters. “The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm,” said FLA president Auret van Heerden. “I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. 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.” Roughly 30 FLA staff members will be visiting two Foxconn factories in southern China and one in the central city of Chengdu. Over the course of three weeks, the FLA will conduct anonymous interviews with 35,000 workers who will be questioned about pay, living conditions, emotional condition and management. In addition to Foxconn, the FLA will investigate facilities belonging to Quanta Computer, Pegatron and Wintek. More →
Apple on Monday announced that the Fair Labor Association will be conducting audits of its suppliers, and the investigation will include Foxconn’s factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. The inspections, which are being conducted at Apple’s request, are being led by FLA president Auret van Heerdenbegan. “We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.” The FLA team will interview thousands of employees on matters such as living conditions, health, safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The team will also inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other areas of the companies’ various facilities. Apple’s suppliers have apparently offered full cooperation with the FLA, and have granted the group unrestricted access to their operations and facilities. The FLA’s findings and recommendations will be posted on the group’s website in early March. Read on for Apple’s press release. More →