Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Foxconn, the Chinese company that produces the iphone, the ipod and the ipad
has been described as "a forced labour camp" by a 2010 report.
Foxconn makes electronic components for :
The company's largest operation is "Foxconn City", a cramped, walled
compound in Shenzhen, which contains 400 000 workers in 15 plants,
complete with its own over-crowded dormitories, fire brigade, bank,
grocery store (where workers must buy their groceries), hospital and
library. The Chinese police is not allowed to enter "Foxconn City" which
has its own "security agency".
Very, very serious allegations of human rights abuses keep emerging from
Foxconn city (see 2010 report). Foxconn city has its own internal
television network which broadcasts only within the complex.
The surrounding technical colleges have a partnership with Foxconn,
where they furnish thousands of students to work on the assembly lines
for long hours and no pay, and the schools get a subsidy from Foxconn.
In October, 2010, a report by 20 Chinese universities described Foxconn
factories as labour camps and detailed widespread worker abuse and
illegal overtime. Workers who fell asleep due to exhaustion were beaten,
forced to write out lines a thousand times. Before getting up from
his/her post a worker has to ask permission from the supervisor. No
worker is allowed to mover more than 50 meters from his work post. No
talking, chatting or laughter is allowed at any time. Going to the
toilet is timed and is added to the worker's work time. Some workers
have to work up to 17 hours a day for months at a time, with no overtime
The report was a huge reaction to a spate of worker suicides where
fourteen died in 2010. These 14 workers committed suicide by jumping
from high buildings.
In response to the suicides, Foxconn installed suicide-prevention
netting at some facilities. It also hired an American firm to make
"psychological profiles" of employees, in order to weed out those "who
are incapable of dealing with stressful working conditions."
Leave comments if you have any suggestions as to the best way to
boycott Foxconn. Again, the biggest problem seems to be the fact that they
manufacture most of the components that go into the iphone and ipod.
The workers of the world are cut off from each other in the process of production,
and only come into contact indirectly through the exchange of commodities
in the market. Working class solidarity must stripe the veil that covers the
production of most of the commodities we use in our everyday lives.