Starving To Death On An iPhone Assembly Line | Cult of Mac

Starving To Death On An iPhone Assembly Line

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When Apple launched the iPhone 5 last year, it was the most aggressive launch Apple had ever attempted, requiring entire armies of workers to aggressively line-manufacture their most advanced, difficult-to-make iPhone yet. But what was it like to be one of those workers? Businessweek has published a fantastic, haunting investigative report on one Nepalese worker, who almost starved to death after his stint as an iPhone tester.

You really should read the piece for yourself, but here’s the background. In 2012, one of Apple’s suppliers, Flextronics International, was so pressed for workers that it had to draw on Nepal’s network of shady subagents to find workers for them.

These subagents actually charge workers to find them a job, and in the case of Bibek Dhong, the worker Businessweek’s piece follows, when the iPhone 5 work was over, Dhong fell upon some hard times.

Having wired home much of their money in anticipation of following close behind, many started running out of cash. Then they ran low on food. The first to go hungry were among a group of younger men who had relied on a local restaurant outside the hostel to give them a meal a day on credit. The owner cut them off when he found out they’d lost their jobs, Dhong says. Hunger soon spread to almost everyone. At night Dhong could hear some of his compatriots shouting and screaming out the windows of their high-rise towers. One man Dhong knew seemed to be going stir-crazy, muttering and shouting to himself as he paced the hostel grounds.

It’s really worth reading for yourself. Apple may be setting an industry standard for its workers, but it’s still a very, very hard life that leads you to build iPhones for a living.

Source: Businesweek