Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Life at Foxconn’s suicide factory [AsiaOne]

The figures seem to speak for themselves with Foxconn’s ‘IT Forbidden City‘ in this essay by the Straits Times, Singapore – ‘In the past three months, the [Foxconn] factory has been losing 50,000 staff a month because workers are burning out,’ Mr Zhu, migrant worker and workplace rights advocate.

Read on for a glimpse into the working conditions at Foxconn, plus some background into the owner Terry Gou. An average of 120 hours overtime a month per worker is equivalent to an additional five days of work. Why are they driven to such artificially high levels of efficiency? Chicken and egg situation – Does the problem lie with the factory, or the terms and deadlines of the clients they produce for?

– – –

Life at Foxconn’s suicide factory
By Connie Er, Straits Times
Source – AsiaOne, published June 02, 2010

They work, some on their feet throughout, up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, assembling products that most cannot afford to buy themselves: Apple iPhones, Apple iPads, Dell computers and Nokia mobile phones.

They are not allowed to talk while working and could be fined for doing so.

These are some of the conditions workers at Foxconn have to endure, according to an undercover team of seven Chinese who infiltrated the Longhua plant in southern China’s Shenzhen boomtown two weeks ago, The Telegraph reported.

‘Hundreds of people work in the workshops, but they are not allowed to talk to one another. If you talk, you get a black mark in your record and you get shouted at by your manager. You can also be fined,’ investigator Zhu Guangbing, who organised the undercover operation, told London’s The Telegraph. His team included netizen volunteers and four Foxconn workers.

Between 300,000 and 400,000 employees eat, work and sleep at Foxconn’s plant, in Longhua Town, which some have labelled the IT Forbidden City due to its water-tight security.

‘In the past three months, the factory has been losing 50,000 staff a month because workers are burning out,’ Mr Zhu, a migrant worker and a workplace rights advocate, said. ‘The workers are reduced to repeating exactly the same hand movement for months on end.’

The workers the team spoke to say that their hands continue to twitch at night, or that when they are walking down the street they cannot help but mimic the motion. They are never able to relax their minds, Mr Zhu, 36, said.

Overtime last year was an average of 120 hours per month per worker, above the maximum level set by Apple in its guidelines to suppliers, The Telegraph reported.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: AsiaOne, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Foxconn Suicides 2010, Human Rights, Politics

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