The Workers who make your iPhone Live in Deplorable Conditions
More than 420,000 workers live, eat, work and sleep at Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen. As part of a more in-depth story being done for WIRED, Joel Johnson visited the factory and took some pictures of the deplorable conditions that factory workers have to live in.
Foxconn is one of Apple’s main manufacturer contractors. Thousands of Mac minis, iPods, iPhones and iPads are assembled daily in the Shenzhen factory, which runs 24/7.
Now here is the shocker, until today, I had no clue that within half a year, there have been nine suicides attempts with seven confirmed deaths at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory. In the last month, that number suddenly increased to 30 new suicide attempts, prompting the company to hire counselors and even Buddhist monks to free the souls of the suicidal from purgatory.
The dead have all been migrant workers, and for many Foxconn was their first job. The company pays most of its assembly-line workers in Shenzhen the city’s minimum wage of $130 (900 Chinese Yuan) a month, and many work significant overtime hours in order to maximize their incomes.
The string of deaths has drawn attention to the labor practices of a highly successful Fortune 500 company that has 420,000 workers on its payroll in Shenzhen alone.
Working conditions at Foxconn’s factories have been under scrutiny for years. The attention was heightened in 2009 when 25-year-old employee Sun Danyong, who had been accused by management of losing an iPhone prototype, jumped to his death from his apartment in Shenzhen.
Chinese press reports said Sun, might have been physically abused by company security guards searching for the missing device.
Foxconn has more than 420,000 people; in the U.S. that would be a big city. Even in China that would be a big city, but it’s a city without any families. Everyone is working. They live in a dormitory for seven months and don’t know their own roommates’ names.
Apparently, Foxconn workers only smile on the 10th of every month. That’s the day when they get their salaries. That day, the ATM machines inside the factory are crowded with workers.
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