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Employees at Apple's Hellish Foxconn Factory Feel Life is "Meaningless"
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 04 June 2010 17:48

From Daily Tech

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou says he can't understand why his employees would want to kill themselves. Gou is among the world's richest men. He lives a lavish lifestyle and recently married his much younger lover.

Authoritarian policies offer employees little freedom


Ah Wei stands weary, at the point of breaking after a long 12-hour shift at Apple's Foxconn factory.  He understands all too well the sentiments of the employees that committed suicide.  Despite a 30 percent pay raise (which comes at a total cost to Apple of around $3.50 of its $200 in profit per iPad sold), he still only makes $172 USD a month, no where near enough to afford one of the hundreds of iPhones he makes a day.  He still can't make enough to decently support his family, but he also is afraid if he quits he will be unemployed -- left with nothing at all.

In a Bloomberg report he complains, "Life is meaningless. Everyday, I repeat the same thing I did yesterday. We get yelled at all the time. It’s very tough around here."

Foxconn manufactures motherboards for virtually every major computer or phonemaker.  Among its customers are Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Nokia, HP, and Dell.  However, Apple is one of its biggest partners.  Foxconn manufactures most of Apple's iPads, iPhones, and iPods.

Amid rampant demand for iPads and iPhones, Foxconn has cracked down on employee freedoms and forced employees to work longer hours, often times unpaid.  Conditions at the Apple plant are reportedly far worse than the working conditions at other Foxconn plants used by Dell, HP, and others.

On the line employees are now forbidden to talk to each other.  They only are allowed 10 minutes of bathroom breaks every 2 hours -- even if they are sick.  Noise on the factory floor is so loud that it has damaged many employees hearing -- even that of employees like Ah Wei, who wears ear plugs while on the line.

Many employees have reportedly requested transfers out of the hellish factory to one of Foxconn's other facilities, and had their requests denied.  Ah Wei has tried three times to request a transfer, but has had no luck.

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