June 7, 2010

Steve Jobs loves Apple's "hell factory"

by

The family of Foxconn suicide Ma Xiangqian gather outside the Foxonn factory to mourn and protest

The family of Foxconn suicide Ma Xiangqian gather outside the Foxonn factory to mourn and protest

According to this InformationWeek post, Apple CEO Steve Jobs thinks the Chinese factory Foxconn, which produces Apple’s iPad and which has been the subject of much controversy after a string of worker suicides (covered here, here, here, and here on MobyLives) is actually “pretty nice.”

According to the report, “Jobs denied allegations that the plant, owned and operated by Apple sub-contractor Foxconn, subjects Chinese workers to long hours and inhumane conditions… ‘They’ve got restaurants and swimming pools,’ said Jobs, who spoke earlier this week at the D tech conference in Southern California.”

However another report in today’s New York Times describes different job conditions, such as that of 19-year-old Ma Xiangqian, one of 10 Foxconn employees to have killed himself this year. He worked “an 11-hour overnight shift, seven nights a week, forging plastic and metal into electronics parts amid fumes and dust.” What’s more, “Mr. Ma’s pay stub shows that he worked 286 hours in the month before he died, including 112 hours of overtime, about three times the legal limit. For all of that, even with extra pay for overtime, he earned the equivalent of $1 an hour.” Although because he had complained about the hours, the long hours of that last month of Ma’s employment at Foxonn — and of his life — was spent cleaning toilets.

Kelly Burdick is the former executive editor of Melville House.

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