Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Steve Jobs: philantrope or hypocrite?

     It seems that the iPhone contractor, Foxconn cannot keep itself out of the news and for all of the wrong reasons. After several highly-publicized suicides by Foxconn workers, a new leaked report shows that not much has actually changed at Foxconn. The Beijing-based Global Times reported on a study conducted by 60 teachers and students from 20 Universities in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

     Fourteen investigators were able to enter the company and experience life inside Foxconn for themselves. According to the report, at least 16.4 percent of Foxconn employees have been subject to "some kind of corporal violence," like that seen in a recently released video of employees being assaulted by Foxconn security.

     More than 38 percent claimed that their privacy has been invaded and 54.6 percent felt indignant toward management. Foxconn had announced a 30 percent pay rise for its employees following a number of suicides, but the report states that raises only amounted to 9.1 percent and that workers were also deprived of, "many of their welfare terms like subsidies, bonuses and so on."

     The report focuses a lot on interns working for Foxconn. While interns are only allowed to work eight hours per day, some plants had them on ten hour shifts and night shifts. By having no contracts with interns, Foxconn doesn't have to pay "social welfare" costs for them, which means if they are injured at work due to a lack of supervision, the interns will have to pay their own medical expenses. This should come as a shock as the main Foxconn contractor, Apple chooses to use various volatile compounds and seems to be more worried about the iPhone's screen getting cleaned faster than the health of the workers.

"Foxconn's labor system is characterized with highly-intensified workload, low payment, violent training, all at the cost of the workers' dignity," the unreleased report states.

     Apple "seemed" committed earlier this year to help solve the problems at Focxonn but as the news wave about the suicides passed so did their interest. In fact it is Apple the one who makes the demand for a too large amount of devices in too little time. While the iPhone keeps getting manufactured with blood, sweat and tears Steve Jobs has no problem attending to various philanthropic events, such as the ceremonial signing of the bill  that  creates a live donor registry for kidney transplants at Packard Children's Hospital near Stanford.

     Nothing more than a pathetic and hypocritical gesture made only for the cameras while he continues to suck the life right out of the mistreated and underpaid workers at Foxconn with iPhone being the most expensive mobile gadget on the market.

Source: Global Times