Report: Your Apple iPhone was probably made by abused workers

Your Apple iPhone could have been made by abused workers.
Your Apple iPhone could have been made by abused workers.

Apple has received a lot of heat because that manufactures its popular iPhone, Foxconn, has been in the news due to a string of worker suicides. Things don’t appear to be getting any better, as a new study said about 50% of Foxconn workers have been abused physically at some point at work.

The report, leaked by the Chinese government, said up to 50% of some workers in plants were experiencing some form of abuse. This would include actual physical violence from a manager or supervisor, as well as forced overtime.

Interns were especially at risk:

According to the law, the work period of an intern should not exceed eight hours, and they are not allowed to service for overtime work. However, at some of these plants, the interns have a workload of over 10 hours with some even being forced to work night shifts.

Furthermore, no contracts are signed with these students, meaning that the company is exempt of paying social welfare; and due to the lack of supervision, upon being injured at work, interns cover their own medical expenses, without help from either the government or the firm itself.

It’s unclear how accurate these claims are, as some are speculating that the government is trying to use its newspaper to put negotiating pressures on Foxconn. Still, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard something bad going on at the Apple iPhone manufacturer and it’s clear that something is rotten in Shenzhen.

We’ve seen in-depth looks at how Foxconn operates and we know the company can pump out more than 130,000 Apple iPhone units a day. It has also recently increased wages in an effort to boost its public perception.

It’s a tough issue with multiple sides to blame. Foxconn should treat its employees better, Apple should ensure its products are coming from companies which don’t abuse its customers and we consumers also have to understand and accept that we are only able to get these high-end electronics at a cheap price because it is often made by people who don’t make a wage we’d consider fair. No one really wants to pay more though, so we’re stuck with this mess for the moment.

[Via Electronista]

  • Daniel

    I think this report is way overblown. You blame companies for taking their factories over seas and creating these harsh environments when its our governments own fault. Did you know that our government taxes businesses located in the U.S. higher than any other country? Then you wonder why they go to other countries to house their businesses. Business are in the industry to make money so of course they are going to cut costs whether its ethical or not. Don’t blame anyone but the good o’l USA for whats going on. If Apple isn’t forced to better the conditions there, they aren’t going to do anything. This kind of stuff isn’t new people its been going on for centuries i.e. child labor, industrial revolution. Its just getting blown up because its Apple. I am not saying I am for what is going on in Foxconn, something definitely needs to happen. But if the Foxconn factory was located in the US, you wouldn’t see these problems.

  • Marin Perez

    “Did you know that our government taxes businesses located in the U.S. higher than any other country?” Not even close to true, look at Europe’s tax rates.

    I agree that businesses will try and make money whichever way is possible. In fact, public companies in the U.S. have a legal obligation to maximize shareholder revenue. I’m also saying that this can change if all parts of the chain – including the end user – want it to. I don’t want to pay more though and not many do or can afford it and that’s why it’s such a troubling issue.

    • Daniel

      I’m not talking about Europes tax rates. Of course they are going to be higher because the government does EVERYTHING for them over there. Somebody has to pay for the healthcare over there. I am talking about countries like Taiwan, China, Mexico, etc. The places where they pay their workers like 10 cents an hour. Those are the places that our business use to produce their products. I say forget international commerce and bring our factories back home. Require taxes on all imported goods. Screw sending money to other countries and helping them out, when there are people here who need jobs!!!

      • Yes, bring our factories home! And raise our iPhone prices to $2000 apiece!

        Wait, you don’t want to pay that much for an iPhone? Well, how do you think Apple can offer them so cheap?

  • West

    I think this is all nonsense that these companies need to do this to make the device affordable. Let gets real for a moment we are in a time when CEOs and Executive salaries are 8 times more than their employees and on top of that they get paid an annual bonus that would take average worker a life time to make before taxes. Now I’m not against making a profit nor lower prices but when we do it a the expense of Human life then we haven’t moved very far from a barbaric society.

  • Will

    That’s why I’m unemploy right now b/c companys like apple build their product overseas for pennies then sell it in the USA for hundreds of $s but what these companys dont realize is if the people don’t have jobs they won’t be able to buy their products I for one will not buy another apple product until they start manufacturing the the product they sell in the USA in the USA that’s why I quit buying $.25 cent per hour $300 Nike

  • Jake J

    I’ll go and abuse them myself if they don’t get to work over there and start making iphones.

    • Daniel

      Wow jake…amusing and disturbing at the same time!

  • It is more than a bit sensationalistic to make it seem as though all FOXCON does is make iPhones. FOXCONN is MASSIVE.. They build OVER $100 BILLION worth of products every year. Apple’s is doing great but obviously that ain’t all iPhones. They make, well, almost everything. Just a cursory Google search would provide you with a list of companies that use FOXCONN. DELL, HP, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, AMAZON, Motorola, Microsoft, and CISCO to name just a few. Singling out the iPhone is essentially YELLOW JOURNALISM.

    Not to mention the fact that APPLE is the only company that has dispatched troubleshooters to FOXCONN to assist with improving working conditions.

    The company employes FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE. Statistically, when you have hundreds of thousands of people, pretty much every abnormal human behavior is likely to be measurable within the group. Consider the much reported count of human suicides. As soon as I heard that, rather than write “MAKING IPHONES CAUSES PEOPLE TO COMMIT SUICIDE” I wondered is the number of suicides reported abnormal for a sample the size of the Foxconn employee base? Guess what, it wasn’t. It’s about average when compared with other similar population groups.

    You really ought to dig further into what the world of a FOXCONN employee is like, what it would be like without FOXCONN, and the amount of good FOXCON has done in China. There are close to 2 billion people living in China. The mindset of this country is alien to others such as the United States. This is a country that literally puts female children to death as a form of population control. Human life does not mean the same thing there. Human beings are simply an inexpensive and overly abundant resource.

    People COMPETE heavily for those FOXCONN jobs. They can mean life or death for a family.
    Concerning Interns, you might be surprised to see how hard Interns compete in corporate America. You might even want to do, what is it called, oh yes, RESEARCH.

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