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back to article Embattled Foxconn raises wage slaves' salaries

China's Foxconn contract-manufacturing group, which for years has come under fire for alleged workforce abuses, has responded in part by giving its workers raises of from 16 to 25 per cent. According to a Bloomberg report, the raises kicked in on February 1 – just one week after a scathing article in The New York Times wrote of …

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K
Bronze badge
Windows

Sounds crazy..

For somebody working in Manufacturing in China, this is actually a decent wage. My brother moved to China to teach English about 4 years ago, and teaching is one of the better and respected paid profession, but he only earns about 700-800RMB a month this includes a "premium" as he is a westerner - Chinese teachers actual earn less.

Simple fact is, you can't set their pay by western standard, if you did, iPads et al would cost £2000, it also needs to be factored in that living out the is several magnitudes cheaper.

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Anonymous Coward

NEWFLASH.....

Ipads, iphones, i.....

Will increase in price by 67% from next Monday.

In a statement released today a spokesperson from Apple said, 'we feel that we must become more socially aware so as to benefit our customers. A happy worker will make a happy device.

We will be increasing workers wages by 0.79% which is in line with local pay scales. This will be reflected in our over all costs and the cost to the consumer.'

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Re: Sounds crazy..

Sucks to be your brother. Should be 7000 to 12000RMB a month, if he has reasonable qualifications.

The wages in this article also look low to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds crazy..

'Simple fact is, it doesn't matter if a few of the well paid workers die whilst they're making my shiny new toy as long as it's still cheap' There, fixed it for you. Twat.

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Silver badge

Re: Sounds crazy..

While teaching, did your brother have to put up with aluminim dust explosions ? Was his working life so horrifying that suicide nets were spread outside his window ? Etc. etc. Puts you in mind of Britain sending kids down mines in the 1830's. We can't condemn that inhumanity while indulging in a the same game ourselves.

I would rather pay more money for a crappier phone made by people treated like human beings.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jim

I agree with your sentiment that the conditions in the plant appear to be rather poor, but I don't think that you can say that we shouldn't condemn people as we did things that were bad nearly two hundred years ago. I'm pretty happy about condemning slaving and don't feel at all hypocritical about it despite the previous actions of the British Empire.

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Silver badge

Re: @Jim

You misunderstand. I am saying we can't condemn the people who sent kids down the mines in the 1830s, while we ourselves treat people with similar inhamanity in order to satisfy our lust for shiny toys.

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Anonymous Coward

It's pretty clear from the article that Apple is ripping everyone off lol.

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I think Apple must be credited with this move. I'm willing to pay more for my iDevices if those workers get a decent wage & better working condition.

Good on ye Mr Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

"slaves"

I wish this word wasn't used so lightly...

Real slavery is a growing problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "slaves"

Agree.

They are not slaves. They are early industrial labor - matching Europe from the 19th century. In theory they can go elsewhere. In practice - the factory owner owns the place they live, owns the food shop which feeds them and determines every aspect of their life just the way it was done during the Victorian age in Britain, rise of the industry in Germany or post-indenture reform turn of the 20th century Russia. So while they can go elsewhere in theory they have no choice in practice.

I it is not surprising that Apple's CEO (ex-COO) and many other "industrial leaders" get a boner when they see labor conditions like this.

By the way, the article misses what Foxconn manages to collect back in terms of "sustenance" from its workforce. Victorians used to "manage" such workforce by giving with their right hand and taking with their left - rent, food, etc. In an environment where you cannot work unless you live in the factory dorms it should not be particularly difficult to compensate for these pesky salary rises by an appropriate rent and food price rise.

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Alert

It's not just the tech industry

So, they doubled the workers wages over three years. Not bad at all, seems as if the pressure put upon Apple has worked. Strange that Nokia, Dell and Sony hardly ever seem to feature in the articles focussing on Foxconns employees' working conditions..

I watched a TV program on the Chinese workers who manufacture toys for WALMART a few years back. Now that was an eye opener, those people get a raw deal. Something that cost under $5 to make and ship to the land of the free gets sold for $17 in WALMART

Workers are subject to pay deductions for accommodation, food, laundry and transport by bus from the factory into town when they have a night off.

Scandalous as it is, no one seems to be pointing the big stick at WALMART or other retail outlets who also employ Chinese labour.

Hopefully this will change in time, but rest assured the CEOs of the retail giants will push these additional costs on to the consumers.

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Anonymous Coward

moving away

This is probably why Fxoconn is moving some of its production to Inner China ...and to Vietnam !!!

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Flame

@TheReg: Rationality, Please

This whole thing looks like a smear campaign, with Apple and Foxconn the targets. Because they are "big bad capitalists", probably. Something similar could be seen against Toyota recently, who were accused of killing American car drivers. It turned out that Toyota was innocent and all the accusers thought they could suck money out of that great business by means of defamation.

Regarding Foxconn, could you please for one minute compare the living conditions of a Foxconn worker with that of a peasant in India ? The latter have ZERO electricity, must burn wood and often don't have enough clean water.

China and Foxconn have lifted hundreds of millions out of this state of abysmal health and near-starvation, but all the fscktard journalists can do is to bitch about things which are mere imperfections. The Western Well-Doers would rather "drill wells" or "design solar cookers" for peasants in the third world, instead of accepting that Foxconn and China in general is the right way to move out of poverty. South Korea did it the same way and now they are basically as wealthy as any western country and the top or at least major player in many industries. Think Samsung. Just 15 years ago Samsung was not better than Foxconn.

Get A Perspective !

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Facepalm

Re: @TheReg: Rationality, Please

The problem here is the margin involved in the products sold. Every business has the right to lower their costs, but there must be some ethical responsibility attached to it as well. Apple's extraordinary margins make them a worthy target.

The same rationale is used to argue for child labour, that they would have nothing to eat otherwise. However that is considered scandalous enough that Foxconn would not dream of hiring kids to make the iPad. Apple would most certainly insist on that.

People with a job committing suicide, at their workplace, reflects on the seriousness of the situation. They are after all employed and in a far better situation by your argument. Given that Apple is involved in capex for their supply chain for favourable deals in return, they are absolutely in a position to improve the conditions way beyond just giving these people a job.

They could easily insist on a hazard pay for those manufacturing their products. That would be just say 1% of their margin to make a socially responsible difference. They would not need to change anything except improve the conditions of the workers, given how well they are doing.

You say other countries did this with their own manufacturing. South Korea and Samsung. This however is a case where an already extremely successful, ridiculously cash rich company is involved. They CAN insist on western standards of manufacturing. The things needed to improve the situation are here and available to Apple now. Yes it will cut their margins, but they are doing far too well at such a moral cost. The point is they can and need to do more.

Comparing the absolute worst situation in India, with as you put it, the best working conditions in China's leading industry shows how desperate your argument is.

You need to get a perspective.

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Stop

@LOL123: Why would Apple manufacture in China ?

After all, this country poses quite a few risks and the workers aren't that well-educated on average. Parts have to be moved to China and finished products back to the target markets.

The only reason is the lower wages in China and the consequential lower cost of manufacturing there. Actually, this is the way dirt-poor countries can *really* develop themselves, as opposed to the *imagined* ways of doing it. It was not different in Germany, when it was a peasant country and England was already industrialized. I find it condescending to tell an emerging, well-developing nation how to do things. They have made extremely positive progress and in a few years their workers will be too expensive for the most stupid jobs and will be replaced by robots or workers of another hard-working country such as Vietnam. Who ill emulate China's way to wealth.

To get wealthy you need to attract capital and machinery. If you only have labour, you must make it cheap. So simple.

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WTF?

Re: @LOL123: Why would Apple manufacture in China ?

Don't muddle the point. It is not asking the Chinese to change, this is about Apple telling Foxconn to raise the wages of the labour involved in the manufacture of their products. This could be condescending to no one but Apple. Read my point regarding child labour seen in other industries in China.

Cheap labour was the original reason 20 years ago, today, only China can manufacture at speed, flexibility and scale. No other country is even remotely close in terms of costs and scale. Even if they raise the wages of their labour.

Time for Apple to innovate in manufacturing morals and make some progress in the way they manufacture, using some of that cash they are hoarding. They profit the most from this, they must make the first move with real action.

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Mushroom

Second Suspicion

Now that I am in ranting mode, another theory might be that not Foxconn is the target of this s%%it-lobbing campaign, but China in general.

"These yellow, slight-eyed bastards will soon be economically more important than we in the land of loose guns, underhand tactics and the fat military-industrial complex are. How can we do damage to them ? Let's hit Foxconn, one of their champions. It nearly worked against the Huns of Audi and against the other yellow bastards from Toyota".

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Windows

Re: Second Suspicion

Stella going down well is it?

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Bronze badge

"Workers of the world, unite!"

Things are so bad in these Chinese sweat shops, they might need of a dose of Communism. Oh wait...

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Labour rates

I used to work for a Japanese Electronics Corporation, with manufacturing sites across the globe. The odd thing is, is that labour rate we used for our Chinese factories, was the same as that paid in the Philippines. There was not quite the rush to set up there though?

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Silver badge
Meh

Stupid Comparison

Comparing the working conditions of a poor country to the expectations of a wealthier Western nation is stupid. People line up for blocks just to try and get any job Foxconn offers. If they were so bad then people wouldn't want them so much.

The suicide rate in China is fairly high anyway, and is pretty close, per capita, to that of the Foxconn suicides. No story there; Chinese people kill themselves a lot.

This whole smear campaign is a bunch of Western asshats who have too much time on there hands. I hope the price of their silly products doubles.

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Megaphone

Re: Stupid Comparison

> If they were so bad then people wouldn't want them so much.

Seriously, get a clue, those Chinese people lining up haven't got a choice.

You would also be queuing up for crumbs if you were starving.

This isn't charity, they work and deserve a fair deal, given the massive profits are created. It's amazing how crude the argument to keep the status quo is.

It's the Western asshats that think just because they are poor and desperate that anything goes that is the real problem. The company involved has $80 BILLION *CASH* in its coffers!

"Oooh I'm better off so I get to give desperate people jobs.. I feed them, just enough to prevent them starving.. How noble of me..."

Self indulgent narcissists.

<sarcasm> Probably part of the Apple branding exercise </sarcasm>

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Just a data point to add

I spent an hour chatting up a very attractive Chinese PA in Chengdu back in Dec 1999. She spoke very good English, and we shared some details of our lives for comparison. She *said* she was paid 3000RMB per month, which was around £250 by the then official exchange rate. On the other hand, Foxconn provide food and accomodation, which can be very steep in places like Shezhen

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Thumb Up

Well, now we finally know

what Taipei zoo director Chin Shih-chien replied to Hon Hai/Foxconn honcho Guo Taiming (aka Terry Gou) when the latter asked him how to manage his «one million animals» att a Hon Hai annual bash (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399109,00.asp). Obviously Chen must have replied «給他們加薪, 台铭!» («give'm a raise, Taiming !» - I write with traditional glyphs as the conversation took place in Taiwan). In that case, kudos to Mr Chen - and to Mr Guo, as well, for heeding the advice !...

Henri

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Headmaster

For an alternative explanation, http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/02/17/foxconn-raises-pay-karl-marx-explains-why/

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Black Helicopters

dd@dyce.com

Re: Fair Labor Association - there was an interesting piece in Private Eye this week which seems to suggest that FLA are a poor choice in this case: FLA "has no experience of the electronics industry, with all but one of its reports over the last three years dealing with footwear and garment production". It goes on to mention that FLA was created and continues to be funded by the aforementioned footwear/garment industry, and has several black marks against it for failing to spot cases of 600,000 of unpaid overtime, companies firing employees for trying to forma union, etc.

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Megaphone

The Truth

ABC airs a non damning documentary on Foxconn: conflict of interest and lies

NBC airs a non damning documentary on Foxconn: lies

BBC airs a non damning documentary on Foxconn: foreign lies

CBC airs a non damning documentary on Foxconn: communist lies

Some loud mouthed hyperbole laden dude with a microphone and a Sony camcorder airs a scathing report on his blog about the slave sweatshops run by the Illuminati managed Foxconn, secretly owned by Apple: the absolute and unquestionable truth

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