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What’s Gore Done About Apple Slave Labor?

Maybe Al Gore should forget about Global Warming, which might have an effect on the world in a few thousand years, and do something about the slave labor his company is engaged in — today.

(Al Gore is a member of the board of directors at Apple Computers.)

From the UK’s Daily Mail via Macworld Daily News:

I-Pod dormitories

Inside Apple’s iPod factories

Monday – June 12, 2006

By Macworld staff

Apple’s iPods are made by mainly female workers who earn as little as £27 ($49 US) per month, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday yesterday.

The report, ‘iPod City’, isn’t available online. It offers photographs taken from inside the factories that make Apple music players, situated in China and owned by Foxconn.

The Mail visited some of these factories and spoke with staff there. It reports that Foxconn’s Longhua plant houses 200,000 workers, remarking: "This iPod City has a population bigger than Newcastle’s."

The report claims Longhua’s workers live in dormitories that house 100 people, and that visitors from the outside world are not permitted. Workers toil for 15-hours a day to make the iconic music player, the report claims. They earn £27 per month. The report reveals that the iPod nano is made in a five-storey factory (E3) that is secured by police officers.

Another factory in Suzhou, Shanghai, makes iPod shuffles. The workers are housed outside the plant, and earn £54 ($98 US) per month – but they must pay for their accommodation and food, "which takes up half their salaries", the report observes.

A security guard told the Mail reporters that the iPod shuffle production lines are staffed by women workers because "they are more honest than male workers".

The report also explains that the nano contains 400 parts, and that its flash memory is the most expensive component. The report looks at several salient components of the nano, and describes the product as a reflecting the global way business works today. This is because the iPod nano contains parts developed by technology companies from across the planet.

Apple is just one of thousands of companies that now use Chinese facilities to manufacture its products, the report observes. Low wages, long hours and China’s industrial secrecy make the country attractive to business, particularly as increased competition and consumer expectations force companies to deliver products at attractive prices.

Update, June 14: Since this report, Apple has issued a statement regarding the Mail’s claims. The company referes to its code of practice for suppliers and says it is investigating the claims.

But now we have this from ChinaCSR:

Foxconn Admits Breaking Labor Laws In China

Posted On 26th June 2006 @ 07:02

Foxconn, an original equipment manufacturer for Apple’s iPod, has admitted that their employees work about 80 extra hours each month, which is against the law in China.

According to Chinese labor laws, a company breaks the law if it asks employees to work more than 36 extra hours each month.

However, Li Zong, a spokesperson from Foxconn, says Foxconn’s complicated salary structure has caused misunderstanding among the media, and the company has paid the workers according to the minimum salary standards of the Shenzhen local government.

Li also says Apple has sent a special team to investigate, but has found no problem with Foxconn.

It was reported earlier that Apple’s iPod OEM paid very little to the workers and provided very poor working conditions for them in their Chinese factories.

So according to this report Apple’s investigation is over and they are satisfied with the working and living conditions there.

How progressive of them.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, June 26th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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