updated 12:30 pm EDT, Tue June 1, 2010
Insists Apple is addressing complaints
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is defending his company's approach to Foxconn, a key manufacturer accused of inhumane working conditions, an e-mail exchange is said to reveal. Conditions inside a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China were recently reported to be harsh, with low pay and no free time beyond sleeping and eating. More critically, the situation is thought to be responsible for 10 Foxconn workers killing themselves in a space of months.
"Although every suicide is tragic, Foxconn’s suicide rate is well below the China average," Jobs claims. "We are all over this," he adds.
The statement is likely in reference to an Apple investigation into Foxconn's working conditions. Jobs also points to his company's supplier responsibility webpage as evidence that Apple does "more than any other company on the planet" to ensure safe and respectful factories.
Apple is already believed to be responding to the issue by subsidizing Foxconn workers with more of its profits. Still unresolved though are shift hours, said to be so rough that workers are tempted to drop parts for an excuse to bend over. Groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan are pressuring Apple and various factory owners to allow unions, with collective bargaining powers.