Taiwanese iPhone manufacturer FoxConn attracted media attention over the summer after a rash of suicides among its young workers. Now The Global Times has a leaked report on FoxConn labor practices that paints a picture of an abusive sweatshop.
Global Times is produced by the Communist Party, which has an axe to grind with the Taiwanese company, so you can take the report with a grain of salt. At the same time, Chinese officials have traditionally be reluctant to report any news that paints the living conditions of the populace in a bad light, so that adds some credence to the findings.
The article is sourced to to 14 ‘surveyors’ who acted as insiders at FoxConn factories. They were then debriefed by college professors and students who compiled the data.
A few data points jump out: At the five factories studied as many as 50 percent of the workers were interns who received no health benefits and worked 10 hour shifts.
Among all workers, 38.1 percent reported their privacy was invaded and 16.4 percent said they were on the receiving end of “corporal punishment” by management.
Back in June, after the suicides, Steve Jobs wrote, “Although every suicide is tragic, FoxConn’s suicide rate is well below the China average. We are all over this.” It will be interesting to see if his “reality distortion field” can spin this new report.