Remember in 2010 when Apple got a lot of heat for the Foxconn suicides? Some argued that the working conditions Foxconn put their employees through caused them to take their lives, meaning Foxconn is to blame for the deaths, not Apple. That’s debatable, especially since Apple is known to inspect each and every part of their supply chain, from component sourcing to product manufacturing to the retail stores that sell their hardware. Now Nokia is different. They own their own factories and hire their own people, opting to have their goods made as close to, or even in, the countries where they’ll eventually be sold. This makes logistics far simpler. No suicides have taken place in Nokia factories, as far as we know, but the Finnish handset maker is being accused of paying wages that are far below what’s required to live in India. The human rights group Finnwatch says Nokia employs 11,364 at a factory in Chennai, India that produces more than 300,000 devices per day. The average salary for a permanent employee, meaning not part time or a contracter, is around $125 per month. According to the Asia Floor Wage Campaign, you need $170 a month to live a decent life in India.
Doug Dawson, a Nokia spokesperson, says: “As the report says, Nokia pays the highest wages in the area. The wage comparison also didn’t take into account benefits like occupational health, meals, day care and transportation.” The company also argues with the figure the Asia Floor Wage Campaign tabulated since they’re using data from the New Delhi area to come up with their optimal salary statistic, not Chennai.
Considering there were protests at this specific factory in early 2010, we think something’s up, but without deploying a few of our guys to the factory to see what’s happening with their own eyes, it’s impossible for us to draw any conclusions.