updated 05:27 pm EDT, Wed September 12, 2012
Journalist aimed to build iPhone 5
Life and work within Foxconn's Tai Yuan factory have been revealed by a Shanghai Evening Post journalist working undercover as an employee. The reporter initially aimed to provide a close look at iPhone 5 production, however his 10-day stint also painted a broader picture of daily life for thousands of workers employed by the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer.
Hinting at screening processes designed to weed out potential applicants predisposed to suicide, Foxconn's human resources department reportedly asked the journalist a range of mentality questions such as "Have you got into a state of mental trance recently?" All windows in the dormitory were protected by bars, though the staff avoided speaking in length when answering questions about suicides.
Despite efforts by such companies to promote their factories as humane and focused on acceptable working conditions, the journalist describes employee dormitories stinking of rancid garbage piled on the floor and infested with a "swarm of cockroaches." Management allegedly asked all of the new recruits to answer "no" to all questions on a safety survey of "possible harmful effects that may cause to worker during production."
On the first day of work on the factory floor, instructors are said to have told the trainees they "only need to obey instructions" and "might feel uncomfortable, but this is all for your own good." When a new worker was found to be taking an unauthorized break, a supervisor reportedly demanded that he stand in a corner for 10 minutes as a punishment.
When the journalist was finally tasked with helping produce the iPhone 5, the separate production floor was protected with additional security measures. Any worker who sets off a metal detector on the way out of the "top security area" is allegedly fired immediately.
A separate report recently claimed that students were being "forced" to participate in iPhone 5 production as part of their internships, where they worked 12-hour shifts for six days a week and less than $250 in monthly wages. Despite ongoing reports of employee mistreatment, Apple is rumored to be subsidizing pay increases and a recent Fair Labor Association report points to ongoing improvements. [via M.I.C gadget]