The other night, ABC's Nightline got a peek into Foxconn's manufacturing facilities and shed some light on how the iPhone, iPad, and other Apple products are made. The main angle was to investigate the humanitarian conditions of the factories, and though there were certainly some interesting findings, there are a few details that Apple and Foxconn wanted to clarify. The first was regarding Zhou Xiao Ying, who deburred Apple logos from iPad casings. It was suggested that she goes through 6000 units a day, but it's actually half that.
“In manufacturing parlance this is called deburring. Her line processes 3,000 units per shift, with two shifts per day for a total of 6,000. A single operator at Ms. Zhou’s station would deburr 3,000 iPads in a shift.”
The other correction was about Foxconn not paying their employees enough to merit income tax. Foxconn's explanation on that particular was a little more roundabout.
“We have over 75 percent of the employees in the category of earning at least 2,200 RMB ($349/month) basic compensation standard. That means they are earning 13.75 RMB ($2.18) per hour. If they work overtime on the weekend, they will earn 27 RMB ($4.28) per hour. In order to reach 3500 to be taxable, they will have to work 47 OT hours to reach 3,500. If the overtime hours are in weekdays, they have to work around 63 hours per month to reach that level of salary to be taxable. Your statement is only true when applying to the entry-level workers while over 75 percent are already over the probation and earning more than 2,200 RMB basic salary.”
There was also some additional commentary detail from the Fair Labor Association about the flow of conversation before Apple decided to join the group.
"The discussions began in April 2007 but stalled in March 2008. We then resumed them in April 2009 and decided to do a small pilot survey so that Apple could get an idea of how our tools might add value to their program. That pilot led to a second activity that I believe contributed to the decision to join the FLA at the end of 2011. I, of course, cannot speak for Apple but I do believe that the decision to join was probably taken some months before (and therefore well before) the New York Times articles."
The report was definitely an eye-opener. If you've got 15 minutes, be sure to take a look over here.