Apple gadgets have revolutionized the lifestyle of people worldwide and generate annual profits of billions of dollars. But contrasting with the “glow” outside, the factory in China where the company assembles products provide a picture painted in dark colors. It is hard to imagine, but in the factory of Apple’s partner, Foxconn Technology Group, you can’t find machines or industrial robots. iPhone smartphones and iPad tablet are manually assembled every day by an “army” of Chinese working day and night in the factory. For example, in order to assemble an iPad it’s required 5 days of work and 325 employees on the production line.
Chinese workers are mostly young people aged 17-18 who work in very harsh conditions in exchange for a low pay of less than $2 per hour (approximately $300 per month). After hours of standing up, some workers can barely move, and some of them fall asleep during lunch. They are surrounded by banners that warn: “Work hard here or do the hard work tomorrow to find another job”. “Apple never cared of anything other than increase product quality and reduce production costs”, said one of the former employees of Foxconn, Mingqi Li, quoted by The New York Times.
Employees can able to live in dormitories inside the factory, in exchange for a rent of $17.50 per month, but the conditions are similar to those of local prisons, where prison bars are replaced by safety nets to prevent the residents to jump out the window. Last month, hundreds of plant employees have threatened to commit suicide because they have low wages, are working under stress and have not been trained for the job they do. Thousands of Chinese flock daily to the factory to take their place.
Apple has been involved in numerous scandals in recent years about the inhumane labor conditions at factories in China. Under the media pressure, the U.S. company authorized an independent organization to conduct an audit of working conditions. Preliminary report of the organization Fair Labor Association, drawn up after a few days of examination, revealed “tons of problems” at the plants that need to be solved. ABC News television channel has investigated the working conditions at the largest assembly factory of iPhone and iPad in China.
Foxconn Technology Group, the largest manufacturer of gadgets in the world, has partnerships with other large multinationals like Sony, Nintendo or HP.