So It Is A Sweatshop After All

Tyler Durden's picture


One would think workers commit suicide out of enjoyment at their labor conditions. One would be wrong. From Bloomberg:


So China does have labor laws... In other news, more margin contraction for companies reliant on Foxconn slave labor... pardon... delightful work conditions.

From CNN:

A heavily anticipated report on working conditions at Apple supplier Foxconn documents dozens of major labor-rights violations, including excessive overtime, unpaid wages and salaries that aren't enough to cover basic living expenses.


More than 60% of the workers at three of Apple supplier Foxconn's factories in China say their wages fall short of their basic needs, according to a report released Thursday by auditors from the Fair Labor Association. The FLA is a watchdog group hired by Apple to audit its overseas suppliers.


The average monthly salaries at the plants range from 2,257 RMB in Chengdu -- around $358 in U.S. dollars -- to 2,872 RMB (USD $455) in Guanlan.


A team from the FLA, an independent labor-rights organization, arrived last month at the vast Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, known as Foxconn City, to conduct a voluntary audit commissioned by Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500). Thursday's report, which the FLA said is the first of many, covered three factories in Guanlan, Longhua and Chengdu.


The team surveyed 35,500 employees at those factories about their working and living conditions, including their compensation and working hours. The audit also included inspection of manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities.


The FLA's report says Foxconn has agreed to work with the group to remedy many of the violations it recorded. In one key move, Foxconn says it will achieve "full legal compliance" with Chinese work-hour laws by July 1, 2013. To do that, Foxconn will need to hire "tens of thousands" of extra workers to offset its current employees' workload, the FLA said.


In a written response to the FLA's audit, Apple said: "We appreciate the work the FLA has done to assess conditions at Foxconn and we fully support their recommendations. We think empowering workers and helping them understand their rights is essential."


The company added: "Our team has been working for years to educate workers, improve conditions and make Apple's supply chain a model for the industry, which is why we asked the FLA to conduct these audits. We share the FLA's goal of improving lives and raising the bar for manufacturing companies everywhere."


Apple CEO Tim Cook is traveling in China this week and visited an iPhone production line in Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant. Apple on Wednesday released photos of his visit, but did not provide any further details.

And now we expect a NYT Op-Ed from a former Foxconn worker explaining just what Jim Hanson term the firm uses to refer to its clients.

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Sounds like a great place to work........if you like being a slave. 

SilverTree's picture

AAPL kills... or makes you kill yourself. 

Zero Govt's picture

if you're not happy with work conditions do you:

1). jump off the roof

2). hand in your notice

presumably Answer 1 is natures way of culling the village idiots 

SheepDog-One's picture

I think it would be great if they all quit....not quite so good I imagine for Apple earnings though. 

malikai's picture

?2500/mo is quite normal for unskilled labor in China. I'm guessing the real pinch is in overtime hours and the probable lack of pay therein. Remember, these employers provide housing and sometimes food for their employees.

hamurobby's picture

Cots and bowls of rice in a room shared with four others is not exactly fantastic, you must be thinking of great living conditions in India.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Better than sleeping in the gutter.

prole's picture

So according to Hamurabacommie they get free living quarters and free food? Shiite throw them on a boat and bark commands at them and they will be in the US Navy

Born Right the FIRST Time's picture

and I am sure your masters at the fema camp will house and "feed" you well.

Zero Govt's picture

Silver Tree  -- the problemo with moaners like you (and greens and lefty loons in general) is you're always "counting the cost" (not very well actually as lefties are crap at maths) but you're not counting the positives

Of the billions of Chinese now enjoying the fruits of economic expansion and modernisation would you say they'd think theyve gained many (many) more positives/gains than negatives/costs from this period of economic growth?

maybe you'd like a reverse back into bankrupt, rationed, bleak-future Communist hell?

Why don't you mind your own business and let the Chinese people sort their own affairs out eh?

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Having an American company participate in the sort of shit makes us all complicit. If we look back at American labor struggles, it was violent and harsh at best. My ancestors suffered though hell to get better conditions. They fought in foreign wars and dealt with trials beyond what most US citizens understand today. To sit and watch a US company treat their employees like this so a few assholes can get richer sickens me beyond all belief.

hamurobby's picture

Not to mention it creates contempt for these companies and ultimately, us. Little world wars have been started with just a spark.

A Nanny Moose's picture

American's who buy shit from companies participating in the sort of shit makes us all complicit.


There, fixed it for you.

Western's picture

Oh you don't purchase Apple products?


Your hands are washed clean. Indeed, totally washed clean.

Cathartes Aura's picture

I wonder, do you include forced unpaid labour - internships - as "fruits of economic expansion" enjoyed by young Chinese people?

But in light of a series of reports that have emerged in the years since, Liu’s suicide points at one of the under-reported but more unsavory aspects of the much-criticized labor practices that produce gadgets for Apple and many other popular computer brands: with the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on “compelled” factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation, Foxconn may be running “the world’s single largest internship program – and one of the most exploitative.”

Foxconn says it relies on as many as 180,000 interns during the summer months to fulfill the needs of the voracious beast of Western gadget demand — and the requirements of companies like Apple, Amazon, HP and nearly every other major electronics brand. The Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a longtime critic of Foxconn, estimates the number is much higher, and that interns have at times made up as much as a third of the company’s 1.3-million-strong workforce, or 430,000 interns. Either way, it’s an intern workforce more sizable than Disney, Congress and Hollywood combined.

absente reo's picture

Zero Govt: you're right of course, but don't expect many of the illiterati around here to agree with you.

Decolat's picture

A mass walk-off would be unlikely, but AMAZING!, and beautiful. Seriously, what do they have to lose?

Will To Live's picture

Amazing if your shot or starve to death.

Vlad Tepid's picture

You can't hand in your notice if you're in hock to the "company store."  Luckily Tyler doesn't "cull" people for mocking the plight of mere Industrial Age serfs, who don't have the wisdom and sophistication of armchair political philosophers such as yourself.

monoloco's picture

I routinely work more than 60 hours a week and my wages fall short of meeting my needs, but nobody seems to give a shit.

Zero Govt's picture


maybe if the cue of moaners above could set up a company, shower their employees in gifts, and show us all how it's done

regards "my ancestors fought for better work conditions" i'm more worried there's so many conditions for employees the unemployment cues are patent evidence of how the West has priced, pampered and legislated itself to death out of a job

maybe these moaners should be more worried about homes jobless than Chinas employed

There is No Spoon's picture

didn't foxconn recently raise wages by 25%? I guess they didn't do anything about the working conditions though. It's amazing how great marketing and design can cause people to ignore the fact that the product they're buying was made by people enduring dickensian conditions.

SLOMO66's picture

"But Apple products are soooooooo shiny :D...."

JohnKozac's picture

Hard to believe a corporation disregarded the laws....never seen that here in America.....mmmmmm....shocking!

theXman's picture

It's not because China has labor laws. China has all kinds of laws, but in pratice, they are worth a spit. What matters is the dictate from the leaders. 

Is it a coincidence that the auditors suddenly found out all those violations at Foxconn a day after China's Vice Premier (successor to Premier Wen) Li Keqiang made a comment hoping Apple have more humanitarian concerns for employees?

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

You don't like it, off to the re-education camp for you comrade.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


It's not because China has labor laws. China has all kinds of laws, but in pratice, they are worth a spit. What matters is the dictate from the leaders.

OK, now I understand. Chinese labor laws are like American financial laws.


Silver Bug's picture

Who would of guessed! I've boycotted Apple products for a long time. Horribly corrupt company when you do your research.

monoloco's picture

If you think Apple is bad, you should boycott clothing because close to 100% of it is made in factories with much worse conditions than Foxconn.

RussellChester8's picture

my friend's sister makes $74/hr on the computer. She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her check was $17871 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site ....

Gavrikon's picture

Tyler, please remove this spamming fuckwad.

Terminus C's picture

Maybe this is what they meant when they were talking about spending some of their reserves.

SheepDog-One's picture

FREE TIBET! OH but hold on there, dont harm my Apple stock value!

Heh heh....stupid Apple hippie hypocrites.

junkyardjack's picture

Is that from the Onion, "China Labor Laws" say what?

SheepDog-One's picture

Its gotta be REAL grim if it violates Chinas labor laws..sheesh.

rosiescenario's picture

...just what I was thinking....

Aunty Christ's picture

Actually I'm kinda surprised that China has labor laws

Zero Govt's picture

iApplied for the iJob

don't like it, fuck off

Cathartes Aura's picture

iForced to iNtern for zero wages.    iSlave.

Zero Govt's picture

iLeave or iStick

Make your mind up mate, you want the job or not?

HD's picture

I'm sure the street will be outraged and sell Apple in absolute disgust...or, you know - not give a shit. Closet indexers don't have the luxury of morals.

SheepDog-One's picture

I guess its just not a fashionable hippie cause to protest slave sweatshops, no colored ribbon for this one when you own the stock in the fashionable hip product made by slaves in deplorable conditions. World awash in hypocrisy.

Cathartes Aura's picture

real "hippies" don't do gadgets, iHipSters do though - it's about being seen as fashionable, which old school hippies were always set against.