Brazilian Foxconn workers threaten strike over working conditions

By on April 27, 2012 at 1:47 PM.

Brazilian Foxconn workers threaten strike over working conditions

Factory workers at one of Foxconn’s Brazilian plants are complaining of overcrowded buses, poor food and a lack of water. Unless the issues are resolved by May 3, they are planning to strike, Tech Guru reported on Thursday. Workers reportedly met last Monday to voice their concerns and have given the company 10 days to address them or else over 2,500 employees will strike. Foxconn recently hired more than a thousand workers, however the company did not increase its transport infrastructure, and was also forced to hire water trucks due to the lack of water in the factory. A representative for the employees expressed optimism that a solution would be reached without resorting to a strike. More →

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Nokia breaks ground on new manufacturing facility in Vietnam

By on April 23, 2012 at 3:30 PM.

Nokia breaks ground on new manufacturing facility in Vietnam

As previously reported, Nokia on Monday held a groundbreaking ceremony that kicked-off development of the company’s first manufacturing facility in Vietnam. The new plant is located in Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park in Bac Ninh province and is beng developed on 42 acres of land. Nokia plans to open the factory in early 2013 and create as many as 10,000 new jobs while producing 45 million handsets by the end of 2014. “Thanks to the valued support from the Vietnamese government, our manufacturing program in Vietnam has been progressing well,” said Mary McDowell, Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Mobile Phones. “The new Nokia manufacturing plant will produce and provide new devices for compelling and affordable, localized mobile experiences, particularly in the growth markets.” Nokia’s press release follows below. More →

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Nokia to announce its first manufacturing plant in Vietnam on April 23rd

By on April 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM.

Nokia to announce its first manufacturing plant in Vietnam on April 23rd

Over the last few months, Nokia has closed scaled back several of its Western factories and shed over 3,000 employees in a recent effort to cut costs. The Finnish handset maker will shift its manufacturing business to Asia and is planning to build a plant in Vietnam, a move that is expected to cost some $300 million according to Vietnamese news organization BaoMoi. “Shifting device assembly to Asia is targeted at improving our time to market. By working more closely with our suppliers, we believe that we will be able to introduce innovations into the market more quickly and ultimately be more competitive,” Nokia EVP of Markets Niklas Savander previously said. The company will reportedly hold a press conference to officially announce the project on April 23rd. The plant could create as many as 10,000 new jobs and is expected to produce 45 million handsets by the end of 2014. More →

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Foxconn workers react to reduced hours, same pay

By on March 30, 2012 at 12:20 PM.

Foxconn workers react to reduced hours, same pay

In response to one of the largest investigations ever conducted of a U.S. company’s foreign partners, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has agreed to hire tens of thousands of new workers, eliminate illegal overtime, improve safety condition and upgrade workers’ housing and other amenities, Reuters reported on Friday. After probing three Foxconn plants and interviewing over 35,000 workers, the Fair Labor Association reported that it found serious violations of Chinese labor laws, such as illegal and unpaid overtime, and extreme hours. Foxconn plans to reduce workers’ hours to 49 per week, which includes overtime, and it does not plan to raise salaries. The company will also hire additional workers and build more housing and canteens to combat overcrowding. While some of the company’s efforts have been praised, the changes have received mixed reactions from Foxconn’s employees. Read on for more. More →

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Poisoned iPhone factory workers beg for reform in open letter

By on February 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM.

Poisoned iPhone factory workers beg for reform in open letter

A pair of workers who claim to have been poisoned by toxins in a Suzhou, China factory while assembling touchscreens for Apple’s iPhone have written an open letter begging consumers to demand reform. SumOfUs, the organization behind the Ethical iPhone Campaign, released the letter in an email to the media on Wednesday afternoon. The letter was written by Guo Rui-qiang and Jia Jing-chuan, two former factory workers who urge consumers to sign SumOfUs’s petition and demand that Apple force its suppliers and manufacturing partners to improve working conditions at their Chinese factories. Both workers claim to have been poisoned by a chemical cleaner called N-hexane, and they have suffered neurological damage as a result. The Fair Labor Association is currently conduction inspections of two Foxconn factories, prompted by Apple, and while only preliminary inspections have been made at this point, the organization says it has already found “tons of issues.” The workers’ letter follows below in its entirety. More →

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ABC looks inside Foxconn during ‘a trip to the iFactory’ [video]

By on February 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

ABC looks inside Foxconn during ‘a trip to the iFactory’ [video]

ABC recently became the latest news organization to be given a look inside consumer electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn’s facilities in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, and the Nightline special that resulted from the trip will air on Tuesday. In the meantime, ABC News has posted a 90-second teaser video containing footage from reporter Bill Weir’s trip to China. Apple, of course, is the only Foxconn partner mentioned in the preview so we can expect the forthcoming report to focus on the Cupertino-based company’s wares, but the teaser promises a never-before-seen look at Foxconn’s facilities so it could be an eye-opening segment. Foxconn and its premier partner Apple have once again taken center stage in a human rights debate that recently saw protesters deliver a petition to Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store demanding the technology giant play a more active role in improving working conditions in the Chinese factories that assemble its hardware. ABC’s teaser video follows after the break. More →

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Apple CEO: ‘We care about every worker in our supply chain’

By on January 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

Apple CEO: ‘We care about every worker in our supply chain’

The New York Times recently published an article discussing the unsafe working conditions in the factories Apple employs to build its products. It’s no secret that several factories belonging to Apple’s ODM partners have harsh working conditions; there are rumors of anti-suicide pledges that Foxconn workers have to sign, and safety is obviously a concern following multiple preventable explosions at Foxconn plants. While much has reportedly been done to improve working conditions at these plants, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently assured his employees that the Cupertino-based company does care about the workers in each of those factories. Read on for more. More →

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Apple reveals list of parts suppliers for first time ever

By on January 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM.

Apple reveals list of parts suppliers for first time ever

Apple, a company known for its secrecy, has released a list of its official suppliers for the first time ever. Due to backlash from human rights groups, Apple created a supplier responsibility page on the company’s website. Previously, the page only featured labor and human rights, worker health and safety, environmental impact, and general ethics information. The company has updated the page, however, and it now now includes a list of more than 150 different companies that supply parts for Apple products. The move is part of Apple’s effort to address ongoing concerns surrounding the wages and working conditions in factories belonging to its suppliers. “Apple prohibits practices that threaten the rights of workers — even when local laws and customs permit such practices,” Apple said on its site. “We’ve taken action toward ending excessive recruitment fees, preventing the hiring of underage workers, and prohibiting discriminatory policies at our suppliers. And as the first technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association, Apple is setting a new standard in transparency and oversight.”

More →

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Aluminum dust contributed to explosion at iPad factory, China Labor Watch says

By on December 20, 2011 at 4:35 PM.

Aluminum dust contributed to explosion at iPad factory, China Labor Watch says

Aluminum dust, which accumulates during the iPad polishing process, likely contributed to the recent explosion at an iPad plant that injured 61 workers according to the group China Labor Watch. The explosion occurred earlier this week at the Pegatron-owned Ri Teng Computer Accessory factory. According to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Health & Safety administration, aluminum can become explosive if it is “suspended in the air at the right concentration.” Safety has always been a concern at the plants Apple chooses to manufacture its products, and the Cupertino-based firm also recently admitted that 15 of its supply chain plants violate China’s environmental regulations. “We are working closely with Pegatron to understand the cause of this accident,” Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu told Bloomberg. “Our hearts go out to the people who were hurt in Songjiang.” More →

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Foxconn’s $12 billion Brazil iPad plant ‘in doubt’

By on September 29, 2011 at 6:50 PM.

Foxconn’s $12 billion Brazil iPad plant ‘in doubt’

Foxconn’s plans to build a $12 billion factory in Brazil dedicated to producing iPads is “in doubt,” government officials in Brazil told Reuters. Reportedly, negotiations have stalled because both sides have yet to reach an agreement on tax breaks for Foxconn. Additionally, Brazil may not be able to populate the factory with enough skilled laborers. Worse still, Brazil has been tasked with building infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup followed by the Olympics two years later. Skeptics argue Brazil will not be able to finish all of the construction required for the two major sporting events and create Foxconn’s proposed “intelligent city” outside of Sao Paulo. Read on for more. More →

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Fire extinguished at Foxconn factory; production unaffected [video]

By on September 27, 2011 at 9:15 AM.

Fire extinguished at Foxconn factory; production unaffected [video]

A Foxconn factory in Shadong, China caught fire on Tuesday but the blaze was quickly extinguished, Reuters reported. Foxconn said there will not be an impact on production and there were no worker casualties. An explosion caused damage at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China in May, and resulted in three Foxconn worker deaths, 15 injuries and a slowdown in Apple iPad production. That tragedy also caused a 2.14% monthly revenue dip, or about US$6.95 billion in lost revenue. A Foxconn spokesperson told Reuters that Tuesday’s fire was caused by electrical cables on the factory roof and noted that the damages will be covered by insurance. A video of the fire follows after the break. More →

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Apple may invest $1 billion in Sharp LCD factory for iPhone, iPad displays

By on August 17, 2011 at 8:45 PM.

Apple may invest $1 billion in Sharp LCD factory for iPhone, iPad displays

Apple may invest $1 billion in a Sharp LCD factory to ensure adequate production of screens for its iPhone and iPad, according to MF Global FXA Securities analyst David Rubenstein. Apple typically buys its LCD displays from Samsung, LG and Chimei Innolux, although recent reports have suggested the iPhone maker has boosted its orders with Samsung after LG failed to meet iPad 2 display requirements. However, Apple’s recent legal battles with Samsung in the United States, the European Union and Australia could be why the company is looking to invest in other manufacturers. “If the situation escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,” a source told Reuters, suggesting that Apple could give larger orders to Elpida Memory and Toshiba. Sharp is expected to provide the LCD displays for Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, which is expected to launch next year. More →

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Foxconn to replace part of workforce with 1 million robots

By on August 1, 2011 at 9:20 AM.

Foxconn to replace part of workforce with 1 million robots

Hon Hai-owned manufacturing giant Foxconn intends to release a portion of its workforce in favor of 1 million new robot workers according to a new report. Xinhua News Agency said on Friday that Hon Hai chairman and founder Terry Gou confirmed the news, seemingly in callous fashion at an employee dance party. The new robots will be used to perform “simple and routine work” such as part assembly and welding. Foxconn currently employs approximately 1.2 million people and also utilizes 10,000 robots. According to the chairman’s reported comments, the number of robot workers will increase to 300,000 next year and 1 million in three years. It is unclear how much of Foxconn’s current workforce will be let go following the introduction of these new robots. Foxconn’s treatment of its workforce has garnered a great amount of attention following a string of employee suicides. More →

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