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2011 05 06 Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises

2011 05 06 Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises

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Published by Peggy Satterfield
Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour
Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises:
Predicaments of Workers after the Suicides 1
Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises:
Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour
Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises:
Predicaments of Workers after the Suicides 1
Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises:

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Published by: Peggy Satterfield on Jan 27, 2012
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12/27/2012

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Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour
Telephone: (852) 2392 5464 Fax: (852) 2392 5463Email: sacom@sacom.hk Website: www.sacom.hk Mailing Address: P.O.Box No. 79583, Mongkok Post Office, HONG KONG
Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises:Predicaments of Workers after the Suicides
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6 May 2011
Introduction
The series of suicides at Foxconn
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in the first five months of 2010 seemed to have accelerated itsrelocation across all parts of China. One year on, the inland provincial governments compete witheach other for Foxconn’s investment by offering concessions to the company. In the first round of competition, Zhengzhou of Henan Province has won the project among various interested cities,followed by Chengdu of Sichuan Province after rounds of negotiations. With stronggovernmental support, the workforce in Foxconn has grown to 1 million, a predominant majorityof its workforce is young peasant-workers from the countryside. At recruitment talks, Foxconnpaints a whole new rosy picture: high wages and good prospect. It looks like Foxconn might havereflected deeply upon its military management and low-cost production strategy, which had
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The report is edited by Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations for the European projectmakeITfair.
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The Taiwanese owned Foxconn Technology Group, a subsidy of Hon Hai Precision Industries Ltd., is theworld’s leading electronics manufacturer. Foxconn ranked 112th among Global Fortune 500Companies in 2010. Currently, Foxconn has a workforce of a million workers all over China.
 
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driven workers to despair. A number of Foxconn’s customers, notably Apple, HP and Dell, havealso pledged to “work with Foxconn” to live up to higher international labour standards. A bigquestion is how this hidden electronics supply chain really works. SACOM is interested to track the working conditions of the new Foxconn production sites to ascertain the workplaceimprovement in place, if any.While Foxconn is moving to the inner part of China, Students & Scholars Against CorporateMisbehaviour (SACOM) is interested to track the working conditions of the new Foxconnproduction sites. In this spring, SACOM researchers visited two Foxconn production facilities inChengdu and Chongqing municipality in Western China, where they are manufacturing AppleiPad 2 and HP laptops. We also revisited Foxconn’s flagship plants in two industrial towns,Longhua and Guanlan in the Shenzhen, where employees are still housed in dormitoriessurrounding with anti-suicide nets.
Factory profile:
Shenzhen Chengdu Chongqing
Campus (1) Longhua and (2)Guanlan(1) southern plant:Chengdu High-TechComprehensive BondedZone and (2) northernplant: ChengduImport/Export ProcessingZoneXiyong Micro-electronicsindustrial parkEstimatedWorkforce500,000 100,000 10,000Client Apple, HP, Nokia, Dell,etc.Apple HP mainlyProduct computer, laptop, mobilephone, server, etc.iPad Laptop and network
While Apple commends the measures taken by Foxconn to improve working conditions, SACOMfinds predicaments of workers remain. Workers always have excessive and forced overtime inorder to gain a higher wage. Workers are exposed to dust from construction site and shop floorwithout adequate protection. Even worse, they are threatened by potential harm of occupationaldiseases in various departments. Additionally, military-styled management is still in practice,characterized by “military training” for new workers.
SACOM staged a protest in front of Foxconn shareholder meeting in Hong Kong in 2010.
 
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Throughout the investigation, when researchers asked about the feeling of Foxconn workersabout the hardship of workers, like low wages, potential harm of occupational diseases, work pressure and exhaustion, the typical answer is “I get used to that”. Despite of grievances fromworkers, workers feel it is helpless to bring changes. Therefore, they can only submit themselvesto the rules and culture of Foxconn or resign. A couple of interviewees with whom SACOM is incontact with have left the factory within 1-3 months to seek better jobs. This reflects humanmanagement at Foxconn as merely a slogan.Foxconn has primary responsibility in labour rights abuses. The clients, including Apple and HP,which declare decent working conditions at their suppliers have indispensible obligations to puttheir promise into practice. Taking labour rights violations in Chengdu are the most problematic,Apple, the sole buyer of Chengdu plant, must take actions to improve working conditions atFoxconn. SACOM’s international partners of the IT campaign, makeITfair and GoodElectronicsnetwork, designated May
 
7th as the global action day on Apple and Foxconn.
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This report is partof the efforts to invite concerned consumers to voice out our aspiration of fair IT products fromboth Apple and Foxconn.
One year on: Apple and Foxconn promise unfulfilled 
Promise RealityRecruitmentandemploymentterm
In strict compliance with law Misleading statements (e.g. wages,benefits, and location of work)
Wages
Across-the-board increase miscalculation of wages; unpaidovertime work
Work hours
Decrease from 80 hours OT a monthto 36 hours overtime work a monthRoutinely 80-100 hours overtimework a month; continuous shiftwhich denies meal break
Health & safety
Adequate personal protectiveequipment; health examinationLack of protections; workers are notwell informed about the chemicals inuse
Studentworkers
Length of internship regulated; skillstraining provided; underage workersprotected (16-18 years of age)Interns are de facto workers; onmandatory night shift
Grievancemechanism
Better worker-managementcommunication by launching hotlinefor workersWorkers cannot find effective waysto handle the grievances atworkplace
Research Methodology
From March to April, SACOM researchers interviewed about 120 workers in Shenzhen, Chengduand Chongqing. The extensive majority of the interviewees are frontline workers, and about 10 of them are frontline supervisors and middle management. Most of the interviewees are youngpeople aged 16-30. Researchers approached workers outside the factory compound and in theliving community of workers. In general, workers are open to interviewers, but some did not dareto tell their basic salary, position, product that they produce, fearing that will constitute a breachof “confidential agreement”. All the names appear in this report are pseudo names in order toprotect their identities. Pictures of the report were taken by researchers and provided by workers.
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Time to bite into a fair Apple, makeITfair, http://makeitfair.org/.

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