Are you giving or receiving a new
Apple iPhone for Christmas? Without wanting to spoil your enjoyment of the
product, you might want to first reflect on where it’s come from and who made
The Apple iPhone is made at several different
factories around China, but for many years it has mainly been produced at
Foxconn’s vast flagship plant, just outside Shenzhen. The massive
factory was once home to an estimated 450,000 workers. Today, the number is smaller,
but it still remains one of the biggest such operations in the world.
Foxconn became infamous ten
years ago because of the high rate of suicides of assembly-line workers. Numerous
workers threw themselves off the dorm buildings, sometimes in broad
daylight, in desperation of having to work in sweatshop conditions. There
were 18 reported suicide attempts in 2010 alone and 14 confirmed deaths. Suicide
notes and survivors told of immense stress, long working hours and bullying managers
who were prone to humiliate workers for mistakes, impose unfair fines, and break promises
of employment benefits.
The corporate response caused even more controversy.
Foxconn arranged for large suicide nets to be installed outside many of the buildings
to catch falling bodies! The company also hired counsellors and workers were made to
sign pledges stating they would not attempt to kill themselves! What nice
And what did Apple say about this? When
questioned about it, the late Steve Jobs replied: "We are on top of this.
We look at everything at these companies. I can tell you a few things that we
know. And we are all over this. Foxconn is not a sweatshop.”
You can draw your own conclusions, but
before you do, please spend the next couple of minutes watching this short film
which shows what’s really going on in the factory where YOUR iPhone was made: