Despite Apple’s stated efforts to improve worker conditions at their Foxconn factories in China, worker tension is still high, as up to a thousand workers rioted in Chengdu last night for hours over a minor incident.
Whether or not Foxconn’s running sweatshops is some matter of debate. The China Labor Watch says Foxconn’s iPhone assembly lines are sweatshops, while the Fair Labor Association says that factory worker conditions are much, much better than at actual sweatshops.
Now Foxconn CEO Terry Gou is trying to settle the debate. Yes, Gou says, Foxconn may well be running a sweatshop… but what’s wrong with sweatshops anyway?
Playwright Mike Daisey has released the transcript of his influential monologue, The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs, under a royalty-free license.
The move will allow Daisey’s hit play about the conditions in Apple’s Chinese factories to be performed anywhere in the world without restriction.Indeed, Daisey claims that more than 500 groups and individuals in 13 countries have contacted him because they want to stage it.
“No one has done this before,” said Daisey in an email to Cult of Mac.com. “Theater doesn’t do a lot of things like this, and certainly not with a transcript that could have been sold — I had offers from two publishers — for real money.”
Daisey said there’s interest from three major theaters in Germany, a mid-size theater in Spain and two in France. There’s an actor who is planning to perform it in Kurdistan, a group in Nova Scotia that is adapting it, and a group in New York planning to turn it into a full-on play.
“There’s a lot,” says Daisey. “It’s going to be interesting.
As most recently referenced in Tim Cook’s comments on worker safety at Goldman Sachs yesterday, Apple is spending a lot of effort in 2012 trying to solve allegations of abuse in their supply chain. This initiative has most recently culminated in Apple going to the unprecedented step of asking the Fair Labor Association to audit their factories.
The FLA’s report isn’t due until March, but already, the Fair Labor Association’s president Auret van Heerden has spoken out, saying that at first blush, Foxconn’s facilities appear to be “first-class” in comparison to the garment factories the association usually monitors.
Speaking at today’s Goldman Sachs keynote, Apple CEO Tim Cook began by bluntly addressing charges of worker abuse in Apple’s supply chain: Apple will not rest until every worker is guaranteed a fair, safe working environment without discrimination and at a competitive salary. Any suppliers who don’t take care of their workers will be fired.