Apple to split factory working condition costs with Foxconn

Apple to split factory working condition costs with Foxconn

Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou recently revealed that they intend to split the initial costs of improving factory working conditions with Apple following an extensive third-party audit of the facilities where iPads and iPhones are made.

We've discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength. I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs.

Gou didn't go into any further detail as to how much these improvements would cost or how much of it Apple would take care of, but it's certainly not uncommon for Apple to invest in Foxconn's facilities. One of the bigger changes at Foxconn facilities has been to dial back overtime hours, which is something not all employees are thrilled about, though Foxconn had promised that wages would go up to counterbalance the loss of hours.

Apple has been very proactive in supporting Foxconn with these changes, and they can't afford not to be; as the mobile industry leader, all eyes on on Apple to find and expose weaknesses, especially if it stands to put a dent in Apple's generally-outstanding public image. The fact is, brutal factory conditions are a natural part of the labor landscape in China, and from the sounds of things, Foxconn is one of the better places to work.

Does Apple deserve a pat on the back for pitching in to support its partner, or is it a responsibility that all smartphone manufacturers should take up?

Source: Reuters

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Apple to split factory working condition costs with Foxconn

6 Comments

All smartphone manufacturers should adopt this policy. It is a smart stance to take, better conditions usually lead to happier employees, an happier employees usually produce better products. They aren't too excited about losing overtime, which is understandable. It's hard to make a living as a factory worker over there. Just compare the Walmart factories to Foxconn. Walmart factories are atrocious and working conditions are poor, so products are cheap but are poor quality. Apple products are higher quality because the working conditions and pay are much better, and as they continue to invest in their workers quality and morale will improve. It makes sense to me.

You asked, "Does Apple deserve a pat on the back for pitching in to support its partner, or is it a responsibility that all smartphone manufacturers should take up?"
Excuse me, but, ahh, ahem: The folks who deserve the pat on the back are the activists and journalists who exposed the unfortunately all-too-common worker exploitation of this corporation (and others, as well)! Without them, no change...except, more likely, for things to get worse.

I'd say that you're partially right, but that it's both unfair and unreasonable to withhold praise from corporations that make commitments to affecting change in places like this.
Let's face it: China, being the Communist haven that it is, has long been known as one of the world's foremost abusers of human rights, and has never--and still doesn't--respect the concept of Liberty at all. As bad as the situation at these factories has been, it's still been a step UP from what Communism offered these people, and it was Consumerism and Capitalism that enabled these jobs to be created in the first place, followed by generating enough interest in where these popular products come from to garner the attention of the activists, the journalists and the bloggers who cried foul.
Note too that this, at least from what we know right now, is a purely private endeavor--no governments have enforced these efforts to improve the working conditions of these people, private corporations have taken the effort and the cost upon themselves. Make no mistake, I believe they SHOULD do this, and that it's in their rational self interest to do so on many levels, but let's not pretend that all the tears, photographs and blog posts in the world could have made a difference in these people's lives if these corporations--which, by the way, are also run by human beings--didn't understand the value and worth of investing in these improvements.
Yes, those who brought it to light deserve credit--of course they do. But so do those who are now committing the time, effort and money to actually DO something about it. There's plenty of credit to go around, so don't get greedy with it, bub :)