A new investigation by two NGO’s into working conditions at two major Chinese factories run by Foxconn responsible for pumping out iPads might make you angrier than a bird trying to destroy a bunch of green pigs, reports The Guardian. Among their findings was that after a rash of suicides at the factories, workers were forced to sign pledges promising not to commit suicide and to instead “treasure their lives.”
In addition, they had to promise that if they did kill themselves, their families would only seek the minimum in legal damages.
Apple told The Guardian in a statement that they’re, “committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply base. Apple requires suppliers to commit to our comprehensive supplier code of conduct as a condition of their contracts with us. We drive compliance with the code through a rigorous monitoring programme, including factory audits, corrective action plans and verification measures.”
The research by the Center for Research on Multinational Corporations and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior also found:
- Illegal overtime is common. One payslip stated 98 hours of overtime. The legal limit is 36.
- Workers were pushed to only take one day off out of 13 days in order to meet the demand for iPad orders
- Public humiliation is required in some factories to discipline poorly performing workers
This is the human cost of the race towards the bottom that has become our consumer product cycle. You want fast, cheap, and in massive quantities? Somewhere, someone will bear that cost.
Foxconn says it is on track to making 100 million iPads a year by 2013.