At 1 p.m. Beijing time today, about 3,000 to 4,000 Foxconn production workers (ironically) went on strike due to strict demands to keep up with high quality standards for products, namely the Apple iPhone 5. There have been multiple conflicts, sometimes physical, between inspectors and workers that Foxconn decided to overlook plus high pressure to meet expectations, so workers are taking a stand.
The iPhone 5 seems to be at the center of all this controversy. Apple has always been known for trying to maintain the highest quality possible in its products, but with the iPhone 5 it really pushed the envelope, perhaps too far for the Foxconn workers to handle.
“Never before have we built a product with this extraordinary level of fit and finish. We’ve developed manufacturing processes that are our most complex and ambitious,” said Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, in the iPhone 5 video. He later adds, “The variances from product to product we now measure in microns. We believe that going to such extreme lengths is the only way we can deliver this level of quality.”
“This strike is a result of the fact that these workers just have too much pressure,” commented Executive Director of China Labor Watch, Li Qiang.
The situation is sure to spark a debate, so here’s the golden question: should Apple push for high standards of quality in its products at the cost of increased pressure on factory workers or should iPhone 5 design standards be more reasonable to accomplish at the risk of stifling innovation?