Foxconn factory workers in Tai Yuan have very few freedoms, live in cramped dormitories with bars on the windows and work excessive overtime, according to a journalist in China, who went undercover to observe working conditions on the iPhone 5 production line. Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook’s promise to improve conditions at factories producing Apple products, the report exposes numerous areas for improvement.
During his 10-day stint at Foxconn, the journalist, working for the Shanghai Evening Post, went through seven days of orientation followed by three days of production work. His report (here’s an English translation and summary) stated that supervisors often reprimand workers, and make them work longer hours with little compensation. Factories continued to employ workers under the age of 18 by exploiting an “internship” program, where students between the ages of 16 to 18 were brought to the factory to assist meeting iPhone 5 deadlines.
In related news, SumOfUs.org, an organization dedicated to holding corporations accountable for their actions, issued a press release today highly critical of Tim Cook and the working conditions at the Foxconn factories. “Apple is hoping the buzz around the iPhone 5’s release will drown out criticism,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Executive Director of SumOfUs.org. “But as demand for iPhones has increased, so has the demand for faster and cheaper production, and factories churning out phones are also churning out forced unpaid overtime, wage cuts, and hazardous working environments.”