Apple just announced record profits, but concerns are still being raised as to how their devices are made in China. The issue of ‘slave labour’ has been raised many times, but it has came to a head again, after the $46.33 billion revenue report.
The workers who assemble the shiny, high tech gadgets, such as the iPhone and iPad are working in harsh conditions. Problems can be varied, ranging from unpleasant conditions to even potential safety concerns.
While customers in the UK and USA see the products as beautifully sleek and worthy of high prices, the people making them are sometimes as young as 13 years old, and they work for 16 hours a day for only 70 cents an hour.
According to a report on the NY Times, employees can be standing so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. “Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.”
The history of the working conditions is terrible, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. NYTimes adds “Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.”
The conditions would be illegal in America or the United Kingdom and the Business Insider say “And it’s also disconcerting to realize that the folks who make our iPhones and iPads not only don’t have iPhones and iPads (because they can’t afford them), but, in some cases, have never even seen them.”
The situation was so dire, that Apple intervened a while ago as their reputation was being tarnished with news reports of suicides at Foxconn factories due to the harsh, long days working at the factories.
We aren’t so sure that much has changed in the last 6 months, and the reports are still flooding in from various sources on the internet. Very few people will look at a new iPad 2 and think of the working conditions that were involved to make the device.
Unfortunately it doesn’t stop with Apple. Terrible working conditions have been documented at other factories that make Dell, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Motorola, Lenovo, Nokia, Toshiba and Sony products.
Kitguru says: Will it ever really change or are the profits just too important for these companies?