ModernityBlog

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Posts Tagged ‘Apple

Foxconn And The Least Expensive Part.

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Capitalism depends on the manufacture of goods at comparatively low prices, but often sold at a premium.

For evidence of that we need look no further than the modern Western accoutrement, the mobile phone.

This has been brought into focus by the activities of Foxconn, whose naked exploitation of its workers has led to many suicides and growing concerns over its activities.

Foxconn is effectively a subcontractor to Western companies, Apple, Nokia, etc. They put together electronic goods and mobile phones that are so ubiquitous in the West.

But that labour comes at a cost, small cost for Foxconn and a large one for its workers as the strike in India shows:

“Foxconn India management’s defiance to recognise the demands of the Foxconn India Thozhilalar Sangam (FITS) union affiliated to the Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU), on wages and reinstatement of 23 workers, caused workers to commence an industrial struggle on September 22, 2010, according to information provided by the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) and India labour rights group Cividep.

On September 8, FITS, claiming membership of around 1,500 workers out of the 1,800 total of regular workers, gave notice to strike to Foxconn India management demanding wage negotiations. However, the management entered in to an agreement with Foxconn India Thozhilalar Munnetra Sangam (FITMS), a union affiliated to LPF workers wing of ruling DMK party.

From the early hours of September 22, 2010, FITS commenced its “sit-in” strike, around 1,500 workers participated and half of them are women workers. Around 6,000 contract workers and trainees were also not allowed to work by the strikers. In the evening of the same day workers called off the strike as the Foxconn India management promised to discuss with the FITS union in the presence of District Labour Commissioner on September 27, 2010.

However, on September 23, Foxconn India informed the workers that it already entered in to a memorandum of understanding with the FITMS union, hence no negotiations with FITS and announced the imposition of eight days wage cut for workers who participated in the strike.

Protesting against the management action, FITS resumed the sit-in strike on September 24. The management used police to arrest 1,500 workers and suspended 23 activists.”

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Written by modernityblog

19/10/2010 at 17:46

Apple’s Child Labourers.

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More slack blogging from me, but this awful story of Apple’s use of child labour in its products needs repeating:

“Apple said the child workers are now no longer being used, or are no longer under-age. “In each of the three facilities, we required a review of all employment records for the year as well as a complete analysis of the hiring process to clarify how under-age people had been able to gain employment,” Apple said, in an annual report on its suppliers.

Apple has been repeatedly criticised for using factories that abuse workers and where conditions are poor. Last week, it emerged that 62 workers at a factory that manufactures products for Apple and Nokia had been poisoned by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause muscular degeneration and blur eyesight.

Apple has not commented on the problems at the plant, which is run by Wintek, in the Chinese city of Suzhou.

A spokesman for Wintek said that “almost all” of the affected workers were back at work, but that some remained in hospital. Wintek said n-hexane was commonly used in the technology industry, and that problems had arisen because some areas of the factory were not ventilated properly.

China Labor Watch is always worth a read on these issues.

Phones review puts it more concisely:

“It has come to light that that iPhone you are carrying may well have been manufactured by the usage of child labour as apparently Apple has stated that 3 of their suppliers used eleven underage children to work on building the iPhone, Mac computer and iPod reports an article over on Bloomberg.

The word is an Apple investigation revealed that 3 companies had hired fifteen year old workers is countries which have a minimum working age of sixteen, although Apple has not revealed which companies and what countries where involved. Although Apple visited facilities in the US, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, South Korea and the Philippines.

In a 24 page report from Apple they did state however that the underage workers where no longer in active employment at the time of the Apple audit. Apple ceased doing business with at least one supplier who wasn’t named due to repeated violations and inadequate actions to get their house into order.

The Apple audit also uncovered 3 cases where suppliers falsified records to hide the usage of underage workers, and in excess of 60 companies worked their employees beyond the maximum 60 hour week, and 24 Apple partners where found to be paying less than the required minimum wage.”

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2010 at 14:47