With Apple recently accounted its highest quarterly earnings of record $46.3 billion in revenue, the company is still finding itself somewhere in reports of labor abuses among its suppliers – first NY Times reported Apple’s harsh working conditions at company’s component suppliers in China – and now, CNN published a video of journalist Stan Grant who recently sat down for an interview with a current Foxconn employee and iPad display assembler.
The company employs around 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas. There are also those employees who works with the company on contract basis like Apple employs an additional 700,000 people who build and assemble iPads, iPhones and other Apple’s products.
Chen’s name has been changed for this story. She told CNN that all her Foxconn colleagues have been instructed not to talk to any reporter or “criminal liability shall be investigated according to law.” During my first day of work, an older worker said to me, “Why did you come to Foxconn? Don’t ever think about it again and leave right now,” said Chen, who plans to return to her studies at a Chongqing university soon. “Foxconn employees have a saying, “they use women as men and men as machines.”
A day after NY Times posted about the iPhone maker, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated in an email to its employees, “Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain. As we reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.”
Added further, “We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.”
Chen concluded in saying, “After three weeks of applying more than 4,000 stickers a day onto iPad screens by hand and working 60 hours a week in an assembly line, she’s ready to go back to school and study hard so she’ll never have to return to Foxconn.” When asked why humans do machine-like work at Foxconn, she responds, “Well, humans are cheaper.”
Stopping the Outsourcing of such manufacturing jobs isn’t possible – as the same job employee cost the company at much higher expense rates as compared to outsourced one. Overseas employees were keen to carry out such jobs – and even in lower salaries too – resulting in giving the companies a huge cost benefit, mainly in Asia or Latin American, companies like Foxconn carried order for American and other countries firms.