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Apple to direct subsidies to Foxconn workers

updated 01:30 pm EDT, Mon May 31, 2010

Said to stem from internal investigation

Apple is planning to redistribute some of its product profits back to Foxconn workers, claims a Chinese news site. Foxconn is one of principal manufacturers of Apple hardware, but has been accused of maintaining sweatshop-like conditions, with low pay and mandatory overtime, including hours so long that workers only have time to sleep and eat outside of their shifts. At least nine Foxconn workers have successfully killed themselves in recent months.

The change in Apple policy is said to be the result of a corporate investigation exploring the connections between suicides and factory working conditions. Low wages have allegedly been identified as the major problem, and so Apple is now reported to be redirecting between 1 and 2 percent of its device profits back to Foxconn workers in the form of a direct subsidy. The first product to fall under this program should be the iPad; while Apple has been paying Foxconn about 2.3 percent of the price of an iPad, this number is expected to increase to 3 percent, roughly the cost of the aluminum back.

Foxconn may be under intense pressure from Apple to deliver large shipments. Even though the latter company has sold over 2 million iPads to date, demand is still going unmet, and the number of countries with the tablet is only scheduled to expand. Still more work is likely underway for the fourth-generation iPhone and other products.


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By Electronista Staff
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  1. Jeff Simpson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007

    +5

    What?

    A good start, Apple! Reminds me of something in an Eric Segal book long ago, "Oliver's Story." Hopefully, Foxconn won't take this as a way to pay their workers lower, expecting Apple to cover the difference.

    "At least nine Foxconn workers have successfully killed themselves in recent months."

    Is this as opposed to the other workers who UNsuccessfully killed themselves? It this written by the "bow"-er and the "out"-er?

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +4

    Success?

    This article details a truly bizarre measure of success, one that increases my desire to be an abject failure!

  1. RoosterJuice

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010

    -3

    GRRR

    Damn the tiny brown hands that created this iPad. You win this round child laborers.

  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000

    -1

    they kill their workers...

    Suicides? Sources close to the workers say that management use death as the ultimate punishment for mistakes made in production. Some workers who are very concerned about their productivity and the specter of imminent "termination" is so stressful that suicide is the ultimate relief.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003

    -1

    Not just Apple

    Dell Computers and a couple others are also built there and those companies are also looking into the details of the deaths. Apple is just the first to respond, and unless im wrong the first to check it out too. Its a step in the right direction, but Apple could also use its power to make major changes in the company. If anything perhaps its time for Apple to buy out Foxconn and really improve the workers lives by actually running the company.

  1. ggirton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    +2

    The Foxcon plant is closed

    and secret.

    No one knows what really happens in there.

    It's so ironic, with all the "cam" devices that Apple sells -- the macs, the nano, the phones.

    And yet, at the heart of it, no one knows, even to the point that an allegation of murder eventually creeps out into the world, and where? In a comment on Electronista?

    If the plant were open, this kind of rumor would have no credibility.

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005

    +1

    Buyout

    It would be VERY interesting to see if Apple or Dell could operate their own factory directly.

    I suspect not - China and Taiwan like foreign investment, but not foreign management (and particularly not anything that might upset the chickens by, say, providing reasonable conditions).

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    interesting...

    If the problem is the terrible working conditions, how the h*** is giving the people money going to help? "Hey, here's a few extra dollars! This should make those 15 hour days a little easier to bear, right! Now, back to work! There's schedules to be met!"

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Socialist

    So, Apple is sending some of it's profit back to the 'workers' (assuming it isn't just all taken by FoxConn themselves. Isn't this just 'redistributing wealth' that the tea partiers are warning us about?

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