Apple Responds to iPhone Worker Mistreatment, Promises Action & Education

Apple has long been under fire for worker conditions in the Foxconn factories in China, but the Apple has promised to take action to rectify the situation in an internal email.

Details about worker conditions in the factories which produce the iPhones and iPads we love to buy have been the subject of a monologue as well as harsh criticism.

This morning the New York Times ran a report on iPhone worker conditions, which shares troubling news about safety and worker treatment. This type of worker treatment is not limited to Apple, but given the company’s extremely high profit and Gross margin, Apple has taken criticism for failing to invest in worker safety.

Apple Foxconn Worker

Foxconn worker in China, working on an Apple product.

One account of working at the Apple iPad factory is shared below,

The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening last May, an eruption of fire and noise that twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws.When workers in the cafeteria ran outside, they saw black smoke pouring from shattered windows. It came from the area where employees polished thousands of iPad cases a day.

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Tim Cook, Apple’s newly appointed CEO has sent a letter to all Apple employees today sharing the company’s efforts to make worker conditions better, saying that Apple cares, “about every worker in our worldwide supply chain.”

You can read the entire letter from Tim Cook to Apple employees at 9to5Mac, but the most pertinent section is highlighted below.

“We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.”

“We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word. You can follow our progress at apple.com/supplierresponsibility.”

While it is great to see Apple talking about making changes, if the company wants to really make a difference, they should take the strict quality control standards they have in place for their products and apply them to the treatment of workers who assemble the products.

Mike Daisy went to Shenzen to see the factories in person, sharing his findings in a monologue, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. In an interview with TechCrunch, he shares the tales of Foxconn workers.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s factories and the beginning of your consumer electronics?

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Image via Apple

Comments

  1. Charbax says

    Here’s an easy calculation for how Apple can solve this problem: https://plus.google.com/106075758531242552855/posts/5ULAzeYmqMK

    – Apple CEO picks up the phone now today, tells Foxconn Apple wants to double salaries and halve work time requirements per worker.

    I quickly calculated it’d cost Apple less than $720 million per quarter. With a $13 billion profit, they can afford it.

    Basically workers can get paid $400/month (instead of $200/month) and work 160hr/month (instead of 320hr/month). Positive effect is that Foxconn can hire twice as many workers and there is still plenty left over for plenty of paid holidays for all, free food, free healthcare, free dental care, free after-work career training (so they can try to get other jobs after being at Foxconn), better private housing, free public transportation.

    Just look at my post on Google+, all my calculations are there.

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