The Human Cost Of The iPad Mini Involves Explosions, Chemical Smells, And Unpaid Overtime

The Human Cost Of The iPad Mini Involves Explosions, Chemical Smells, And Unpaid Overtime

Each time Apple releases a shiny new device lusted after by consumers across the globe, workers at Chinese factory manufacturers pay the price more than anyone who waits in line at an Apple Store for five hours to shell out $329.

As soon as production of an Apple product goes into launch mode, Chinese factory workers get hit by a wave of chemical fumes, 12-hour work shifts, unpaid overtime, and even explosions, as they are hurried to assemble the device.

A story this morning from MacWorld UK dives into the conditions that Chinese factory workers experience at RiTeng Computer Accessory Co., that’s located outside Shanghai and mostly builds Apple products.

The workers explained to MacWorld that chemical smells engulf the plant in an indescribable way. “It feels like there is smoke in the air,” complains one worker, while others worry that the terrible working conditions and chemicals will have a big impact on their health.

Once a factory ramps into production mode employees said they will, “work overtime for two days, but the company will only pay for one of them.” The factory even experienced an explosion last December that sent 61 workers to the hospital that left some victims with broken bones and burns that have been slow to heal

The saddest part about the Chinese workers’ experience is that these are pretty much on par with other top factories in China, so they don’t even bring the problems up.

With iPad mini production in full swing it’s easy to find the job at the factory. One woman named Jiang said she’s worked the last three months straight without a day off.

“It’s alright,” Jiang said of the chemical fumes in the factory. “Sometimes they give us a mask.”

Apple’s received a lot of criticism over the last few years for Chinese labor conditions at their supplier factories like Foxconn, and even though Apple has done more than any other tech company to fix the conditions, there are still many improvements that can be made to ensure the health and safety of those who make the iPad mini possible.

For more info on how the demand for Apple products affects Chinese workers, head over to MacWorld to read their story on the situation at RiTeng Computer Accessory Co.

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  • Len Williams

    Nearly a year ago last December there was an explosion at a factory that made Apple products (as well as products for Dell, Acer, HP, etc.). There are chemical fumes in a manufacturing plant that uses chemicals in its manufacturing process. The party responsible for accidents and working conditions is Foxconn. Apple doesn’t own or control any of these factories and has been working hard to force Foxconn to improve conditions in their factories for years, and has made significant advances for worker safety, working and living conditions, pay and overtime. However, Apple, the press’ favorite whipping boy, is still to blame. And now Buster gets into the blame and shame act. One of the attributes of intelligence is the ability to determine the correct source of a problem.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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