Although Apple has been taking unprecedented measures in the industry to remedy the problem, the truth is that working on an assembly line mass-producing iPhones just sucks. But how bad a job is building iPhones in the grand scheme of things?
The Worst Jobs in the World Matrix, from Lapham’s Quarterly, tries to put the craptitude of working at Foxconn in a broader historical perspective. As you can see, slaving away in an electronics factory for 300 hours per month for $0.76 an hour is a difficult job, but it’s far less disgusting than being a Roman vomitorium attendant, less tedious than being a World of Warcraft gold farmer, less treacherous than being a Japanese subway pusher, and less fatal than being the court food taster for a 16th-century emperor. Perspective, people!
Apple gadgets you buy in the future may have been assembled by machines as Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner, Foxconn, begins replacing its workers with robots. The move is expected to improve efficiency in Foxconn’s Chinese plants, as well as combat rising labor costs.
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has revealed that dealing with Apple’s overwhelming iPhone demand is not an easy task. The company is still struggling to catch up with the strong sales the iPhone has been enjoying, but Gou would not confirm whether the group’s other unit, Foxconn International Holdings, has taken on some of its production.
Although many were injured, it was first thought that there were no deaths. Unfortunately the riot was much worse than initially reported, and ten workers have now been pronounced dead, according to reports.
A Foxconn factory in Taiyuan, China — where many of Apple’s devices are assembled before being shipped — has had to be closed after 2,000 workers became involved in a “mass disturbance” on Sunday evening.
The fight reportedly broke out after a personal quarrel involving workers from two different production lines, but messages posted to Chinese microblogging network Sina Weibo have claimed that the brawl was actually caused by factory guards beating Foxconn workers.
The poor working conditions in Foxconn’s Chinese factories have been widely documented for some time now, but the reports have seemingly done very little to dissuade workers from applying for Foxconn jobs.
Thousands have reportedly turned up to the company’s Chengdu and Zhengzhou plants in the hope of securing a “summer job” that is likely to involve the assembly of Apple’s new iPhone, and possibly even an “iPad mini.”
After the FLA found wide scale violations at Apple’s main manufacturing plant, Foxconn, both Foxconn and Apple promised to fix the issues by 2013. Issues that were found include the amount of overtime worked, compensation workers receive for their overtime, and numerous health and safety risks. In what looks to be the first of changes, Foxconn and Apple will be raising workers’ wages in July.
Employees at Foxconn factories in China claim that the company hid underage workers during the recent inspection by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) so that they would not be discovered, according to the organization Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM).
It seems that lengthy report looking into the poor working conditions in Chinese factories assembling Apple products is going to haunt the Cupertino company for some time yet. The latest backlash comes from consumer group SumOfUs, which has launched a petition calling for Apple to “stop worker abuse,” with over 35,000 signatures collected in just 24 hours.