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Foxconn, China and Robots

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posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 03:10 PM
So recently I have been reading up on the Chinese corporation known as Foxconn. This company is best known for being the main manufacturer of apple products (such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod etc), and is also affiliated with multiple other US companies like HP, and Microsoft.

This company has had a very bad track record of abuse which some claim borders on indentured servitude. The workers signed contracts which the company which specify that they are to work 60 hour weeks with 1 day off per week, however these contracts are rarely honored and the workers end up working much more than 60 hours and never have a day off. Many employees are forced to stand the majority of the time, one employee even said that dropping things was one thing him and others liked to do because they could bend down and rest for a moment as they picked it up.

"We were not allowed to talk during work," Ma Li Qun, a 22-year-old Foxconn worker in Shenzen, said last year after his 19-year-old brother killed himself after just 73 days with the company. "We weren't even allowed to look around. Our superiors used a stop watch to time us. We were fined for any mistakes we made."

Factory employees only make from 50 to 300 dollars a month (depending on position, the company has increased its pay for the average factory worker but not by much).

Due to the horrible conditions, the company has been plagued in recent years by a growing amount of suicides.

This article is very informative, the comments below it are also very interesting.

To combat the low moral within the company, they have hired counselors and even created special "stress rooms" where employees can blow off some steam (it can be seen in the above article, I actually wish I had something like that at work). But these measures are lackluster at best, as not many employees seem to have access to these amenities.

Foxxconn's facilities are located across the world. Mostly in economically disadvantaged areas.

Government Response?

Both the PRC (The Peoples Republic of China) on the main land, and the ROC (The Republic of China) of Taiwan have failed to due anything about these alleged abuses. In fact when journalists from each country investiagted the allegations, they were either reassigned or sued (article is pretty old trying to find sort of update but I haven't been able to so far).

Despite laws that protect workers from abuse (long hours, lack of safety regulations, etc), the contracts that the workers signed supposedly overrule state regulations. This creates a circular argument for apologists of the company and the opponents of the company. The company and proponents say "The work is one is forcing them to work here, they can leave and go somewhere else" but the opposition says "The rural community IS forced to work at companies like these due to poverty and the need to feed their families". It seems the company is arguing that if you sign a contract with them, they can do, pay, and work you how ever they want.

The New Solution

So now instead of improving conditions for workers, offering more pay, or anything else to help out employees what does the company do now. They are planning to replace a massive amount of jobs that employees depend on with Robots. Nearly 1 million jobs will be lost do to this. The rural workers who will more than likely lose their jobs will be most affected, and will be forced to look for work in a more dangerous field or remain unemployed in a world of economic instability.

After looking into this and a lot of other things involved with Corporate China. I see a lot of similarities between there and the US. We have to be strong and employees have to be strong against political-corporate fascism.

All comments are appreciated.

Keep those eyes open everyone.

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