Following the exclusive video tour of Foxconn by ABC Nightline anchor Bill Weir, the involved companies have responded with some minor clarifications and corrections. Apple, Foxconn and The Fair Labor Association (FLA) have all given statements to ABC News that clarify some specific aspects of Nightline’s report.
The first statement comes from Apple regarding Foxconn worker Zhou Xiao Ying’s claim that “she carves aluminum shavings from 6,000 iPad logos per day:”
“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.”
Essentially, Apple is saying that it would be impossible for her to work a second shift since she would be on the product line for 48 hours. The question Bill Weir asked her was most likely misunderstood.
Secondly, Foxconn gives clarification on Weir’s claim that Foxconn workers don’t make enough for China to withdraw payroll taxes:
“We have over 75 percent of the employees in the category of earning at least 2,200 RMB ($349/month) basic compensation standard. 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.”
“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.”
Lastly, The FLA gives a statement regarding its mysterious “five-year conversation” with Apple:
“The discussions began in April 2007 but stalled in March 2008. We then resumed them in April 2009 and decided to do a small pilot survey so that Apple could get an idea of how our tools might add value to their program. That pilot led to a second activity that I believe contributed to the decision to join the FLA at the end of 2011. I, of course, cannot speak for Apple but I do believe that the decision to join was probably taken some months before (and therefore well before) the New York Times articles.”
Many assumed that Apple had joined the FLA because of the media firestorm that erupted after the Times ran a scandalous piece on the inhumane treatment of factory workers at Foxconn, Apple’s largest supplier. It appears that Apple was working on reforming its supply chain standards before the media latched on to the issue.
If you haven’t already, you can watch Nightline’s 15 minute report on Foxconn online.