Of iPhone, iPesach and iYom Hashoah.
After agonizing over whether I should buy an Android or an iPhone, a couple of months ago I succumbed to the coolest and hippest iPhone4S. It will be until the next coolest and hippest iPhone5 (something) comes along.
Because of my recent contribution to Apple’s earnings, this Passover-Yom Hashoah season I am compelled to address the result of the audit conducted by the US Fair Labor Association on Apple’s contracted manufacturing facilities in China. In particular, the report covered the Foxconn's Shenzhen Longhua (easy for you to say) factory whose 18 of its employees have committed suicide since 2010. The US Fair Labor Association was asked by Apple to investigate working conditions at Foxconn after reports of long hours and poor safety conditions were reported.
- 15-hours shifts, six days a week, which would total a 90-hour week. This does not include overtime pay. China’s Labor laws specify the maximum of 49 hours per week including overtime. Workers perform the same task six days a week.
- Average monthly salaries ranged from $360 to $455 a month, roughly $1.25 an hour. Foxconn raised salaries by up to 25% recently to a whopping $1.62 an hour. Some of these employees are highly educated technical professionals.
- Workers live in a dorm room with up to fourteen other employees, sleeping on narrow double-level bunk beds. Not all factories have shower facilities. To “shower,” workers use a container filled with hot/cold water for sponge baths. The factory provides meals and deducts the cost of meals from the employee paycheck. Workers describe factory food as awful.
- Workers can only leave the “compound” during regulated hours. The US Fair Labor Association inspectors found factory and dormitory doors locked from the outside, where those inside could not leave.
- In addition, Foxconn recruits thousands of “interns”. These are 16 and 17 year olds, who work 15-hour shifts, six and seven days a week. They live at the factory three months, though some remain six months or longer. Their salary averages $0.65 an hour with deductions taken for meals.
- There is a preference to hire women 18 to 25 years of age, because they are easier to discipline and control.