Photo: ABC News
Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn opened their doors to ABC News so the world could get an inside look at the factory where iPhones and iPads are made.We’ve watched the report taken some screen shots and given you a condensed version of the report to flip through.
It’s somewhat disconcerting to realise the intricate gadgets we use are made by human hands. If you’ve ever tried to open up an iPhone, an iPad, or a laptop, it’s hard to imagine putting it back together by hand. Yet, that’s what’s happening every day, thousands and thousands of times at the Foxconn factory.
There it is, Foxconn. The controversial company that makes iPhones, iPads, and dozens of other electronics
The thing that surprises Weir, and many other people, is that there are almost no robots doing the assembly line work
What struck Weir is how young everyone looked -- he says there were no 12, or 13 year-olds, but lots and lots of 17 and 18 year-olds
Employees are paid $1.78 per hour. At that wage, employees are still too poor to have taxes withdrawn.
This woman carves out aluminium burrs from 3,000 backings every shift. It's mindless work, and she says she mostly thinks about how tired she is while she's doing it.
Employees get two hour long meal breaks during their 12 hour shifts. In a large cafeteria, they can buy meat and rice for $0.70
After the meal, if they have extra time they take a nap. A Foxconn exec says this isn't because they're exhausted, rather it's a Chinese tradition.
These women are Foxconn counselors. They blamed the suicides on a mix of management, and young people adjusting to a new environment in Foxconn.
Despite the fact that westerners think Foxconn is crappy, 3,000 people were lined up to get jobs when ABC was there.
This guy is with the Fair labour Association and he's auditing the factory. How does he know he's not being snowed by Foxconn? He says he has a method of interviewing employees that gets the truth out.
This Foxconn employee was willing to complain on record. She thinks the dorms are too crowded, the pay is too low, and trees block sunlight from getting into the dorms.
This Foxconn executive said that if Apple wanted to raise wages, it could. And Foxconn would love it! It'd be Good for China and good for Foxconn, he said.
The ABC report was excellent. We got to see what it looks like inside of the factory. But, make no mistake about it, this was entirely planned and set up by Foxconn and Apple.
As such, we really don't know the truth about Foxconn. With time to prepare it could have put its most happy employees on the line. It could have swept aside anything it didn't want auditors or cameras to catch. In fact, there are already reports that the underage people were forced to temporarily leave.
However, it looks like Apple really is doing all it can to improve conditions at Foxconn. But fundamental institutional change will take more than a few weeks. It will take years. And we won't know if its working unless real investigative reporting digs in.
A big camera crew from ABC is just not going to tell us what life is really like at Foxconn.