iPod Factory Conditions Update

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Mac web is buzzing with a report yesterday by ChinaCSR , a corporate social responsibility website focused on China, which claimed that iPod manufacturer Foxconn had admitted that their employees work about 80 extra hours each month, which is 44 hours over the maximum 36 hours overtime work allowed in Chinese law. The site also claimed that Apple's special investigatory team had signed off on the factory conditions, apparently even after the news broke.

    Despite many sites having run the story (AppleInsider, Engadget, Inquirer, etc), it appears that ChinaCSR is the only and original source for the story. MacRumors cannot independently confirm the story's contents, and given its brevity and lack of supporting quotations, we have some doubts about some of the assertions made (although we cannot rule out its accuracy either).

    Last week, Foxconn denied claims that it was running an 'iPod sweatshop' in its factories in China. Apple has sent a team to investigate the conditions but has not officially reported any findings.
  2. cait-sith macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2004
  3. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    I am with Macrumors on the feelings behind this, it would be nice to see pictures or get some quotes from people involved in this.

    Foxconn could do itself good by doing an official statement with regards to this report, as opposed to the tight lipped no comment approach.


    It appears Foxconn has an official statement.

  4. rye9 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2005
    New York (not NYC)
    pretty much
  5. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    Was the asian spokesperson here chosen on purpose to represent foxconn for PR reasons?
  6. fixyourthinking macrumors 6502a


    Oct 24, 2002
    Greenville SC
    Thank you

    With great power comes great responsibility

    MacRumors.com has great power these days amongst the Mac Web ... I applaud them for having the courage to post a truthful (and doubtful) eye on this story which has seemed like it was concocted by Apple's competition from the beginning.
  7. lonepilgrim macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2006
    It's a plea always hopeless in the face of frantic impatience: but, without relieving any of the pressure for these companies to do the right thing out of this situation, it might be an idea to wait for an official, corroborated statement.
  8. Stella macrumors 604


    Apr 21, 2003
    "Foxconn had admitted that their employees work about 80 extra hours each month, which is 44 hours over the maximum 36 hours overtime work allowed in Chinese law."

    So.. a sweat shop. 80 extra hours a week??!!!!
  9. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    but hours are set by province, not by central government...

    i thought the hours worked in Foxconn didn't actually go over the province's limits....?
  10. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Feb 24, 2004
    We have to find out about this. But then most, if not all products we receive are built in places where labour is very, very cheap. What to do? I think Apple should answer at least....
  11. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    Read it again.
  12. N.J. macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2006
    Vancouver, Canada
    I thought that sweatshops were part of the new partnership with Nike
  13. Stella macrumors 604


    Apr 21, 2003
    OK, per *Month* ( not week!)
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    The essential thing is there is a single source claim, without supporting evidence, claiming that FoxConn admitted something, which FoxConn has since denied they did, and that the basic premise is not true.

    Clever advocacy journalism - first claiming that the company admitted to the charge being brought, then bringing Apple in from the sidelines, implying that their team came, saw, and either approved, turned a blind eye, or did nothing. Also clever invoking "80 hours" and then measuring by month -- easy to confuse, as some already have, with 80 hour per week. And citing "Chinese Law" without specifying what laws.

    So ... what does 80 hour per month mean, even if it is accurate? That is 19 hours of overtime per week. What is the normal work week? We are not told. Did the workers get paid for the work? Presumably yes. Did they have a choice to take on the overtime work or not? We don't know. Does that represent a maximum, or an across the board figure? We are not told.

    Really, all there is, is one organization saying "This could be so" and the target company saying "You are wrong"
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What we would like to know is if the all employees are forced to work extra hours or if some are allowed to work extra hours. I remember 30 years ago I was a high school student at McDonalds. Minimum wage jobs were in short supply and they actually interviewed people who applied and rejected most of them. (Now of course they hire any warm body who applies) Back then many emplyees would ask and allays want to work extra hours. They'd go as far as aking fellow employees if they would like to go home early so they could cover the hours. managers were having to quote the California labor laws about hours worked in one day or the total per week. Some of these people would work 24x7 if it were allowed and many walked off an 8 hour shift to a second job to get around the hours worked laws. This was here in the US in the 70's

    You have to understand that it is a culteral thing. Many chineese actually feel that they have to work every waking minute. Of course Western values are slowly sinking in there and not everyone there thinks the same.

    In might be imformative if we were to ask these emplyees if they would like to have a 40 hour work week with a second sift hired in or if they would like beter to work 16 hour days. My guess is that you'd see a good number of them opt for the longer day.
  16. Gasu E. macrumors 68040

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    Ben and Jerry's, the so-called socially-responsible ice cream maker, uses sweetshop labor in the manufacturer of their goods. Ben and Jerry's has so far failed to confirm or deny this allegation.
  17. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    My favorite flavor has always been "Ben & Jerry's Sweet 'n Salty Sweatshop." Mmmm you can almost taste the labor violations.
  18. whatever macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2001
    South of Boston, MA

    At least they get paid for it!

    I work well over that a month and I'm on salary (re: no overtime). Granted Americans do tend to work longer hours and have less vacation time than the rest of the world.

    But oh wait, I'm not supposed to talk about that now am I, because I'm an American and we should just worry about everyone else.

    I think Apple should pull out of China and only deal with US companies and raise their prices!

    No, I'm not serious, but this whole thread is stupid. Who cares. In a perfect world I would, but come on, do you really think Apple sets the laws in Communist country.
  19. theheadguy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2005
    Might as well be 80 extra hours a week iGary. 20 extra isn't okay, either.
  20. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Feb 24, 2004
    This has to be the least educated and alien response I've read. Can you see the conditions (allegedly) that these people work in? Forced labour? If it's true, it's a damned disgrace.
    Your situation is most likely quite different to a poverty driven people; especially when they are taken advantage of by corporations and governments, US or the Chinese. An American company that holds values such as freedom and democracy so highly, should respect and realise that the people that manufacture these luxury items should have the same freedom they hold so dear.
    You are right - they do not make Chinese law. But if Foxconn are in breach of legislation, Apple should make a point to find another supplier.
  21. jagolden macrumors 6502


    Feb 11, 2002
    Forced labor, sweatshops-no, not a good thing and it should be looked in to.
    However, let's face it,this whole thing (even if true) is simply a new attack on Apple and its incredibly successful iPod.
    Look at the DRM problems, the ITMS arguments , now it's this. The competition can't stand a winner and will do ANYTHING it takes to slow down the iPod juggernaut!
  22. whatever macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2001
    South of Boston, MA
    As uneducated as those people what want to condemn Apple because (here's a big surprise) a Chinese Company (Foxconn) lied about the working conditions of their people.

    However, if I, as Apple, was to only partner and work with those countries that share my ideals (freedom of speech, equality, right to bare arms, etc) then I would have to stop all partnerships with most of Asia, Middle East, South America, Europe and North America....you catch my drift.

    For all we know these allegations aren't even true, but discussing them here is just stupid.
  23. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    EXTRA hours.

    So they could already well be working 10 hours per day, PLUS on top of that, an average of 2 extra hours per day, for no extra pay!

    What's your point again?

    Btw 80 hours a month, you gotta be dreaming, even lazy Americans work more than that.
  24. theheadguy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2005
    Uh, that is what the person said. :rolleyes: See post #7 on the same page.
  25. whee900 macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2006
    Remember. This is China; people are not unionized. Assuming that they work a long, 70-hour workweek without overtime, 80 extra hours a month (20 hours a week), will degrade work conditions past acceptable standards.

    Even if they had a "regular" 40-hour workweek (which they don't), an extra 20 hours would give them a 60-hour workweek, which is still a fair amount of time. It was a clever ploy to say 80 hours a month instead of 20 hours a week, because it seems like a lot less.

    But remember that this is not Apple's fault; in fact it was just the fault of an irresponsible supplier. As long as Apple takes appropriate action to investigate this case, there should be no PR problem like the one Nike has had.

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