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back to article Massive strike at Foxconn's iPhone 5 factory

As many as 4,000 workers at Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory reportedly walked off the job on Friday in protest of the stricter quality-control requirements for Apple's iPhone 5 assembly line. The strike is said to have begun at approximately 1pm local time, and as of this writing it is not clear whether it is still ongoing, although …

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Joke

Perhaps

the workers are accused of producing flawed charts too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Perhaps

When Robots take over they will by crying out for jobs.

Maybe Obama or Romney might want to incentivise the company to bring the jobs to the US?

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FAIL

"No Chines workers, No iPhone" ...

... guys, you're missing the point ... in short (should be understood by even the most stringent Kick Ass mentalist): "No Chines workers, no iPhone" ... todays High-tech products cannot function without "rare earth metals" ... China currently supplies 97 percent of the global "rare earth metal" demand ... and (!) ... the United States is 100 percent dependent on imports for "rare earth metals" ... and (!) ... China has limits on "rare earth metal" exports ... ergo: "No Chines workers, no iPhone" ... take it or leave it ...

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Meh

Re: "No Chines workers, No iPhone" ...

China does indeed supply nearly all of the rare eath metals, but it is by no means the only holder of such metals.

The US needs large quantites of these metals for weapon systems, guidence systems in cruise missiles etc etc.. but the US is sitting on large quantites of those metals itself, it is just not mining them. Why? Because a lot of them are in protected enviroment areas. Also, while you can still afford it, why use your own supplies, when you can use the supplies from a potential enemy?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "No Chines workers, No iPhone" ...

Please don't overuse ellipses like that. It makes things painful to read :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "No Chines workers, No iPhone" ...

Rare earth minerals aren't particularly rare, it's just nobody else can produce them as cheaply as China at the moment. If people really felt a risk from China they could rather rapidly reopen their own facilities and start producing rare earths again.

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Not rapidly

According to Tim Worstall, who writes part time for the Reg and I believe deals with rare earth metals in his day job, while rare earth metals are certainly not rare, reopening old rare earth mines isn't something you can do "rapidly".

Molycorp in the US is in the process of reopening its rare earth mine out west, but it is going to take years. They have been (still are?) developing new processes that reduce the rather considerable environmental impact of rare earth mining.

It's that environmental impact that caused US based mines and mines in most of the rest of the world to shut down. Why pollute here when the Chinese are willing to pollute their own country? Now that mines just about everywhere else have closed down, the Chinese have been able to be compensated better for polluting their own country by raising prices. Thus the incentive to start mining in the US again. Economics 101 in action! :)

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Paris Hilton

or maybe those trillions

Or it might be that couple trillion $ stake they own of the US. They got US by the balls, cause we put everything on the credit card. But Paris is still ours.

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Trollface

Re: or maybe those trillions

They got nothing: National debt is *always* defaulted on! China knows this, in fact everybody does. Once you know you are going to default, the winning strategy is to default as big as possible because when the default can wipe out the creditors, bargains will be made. Precisely what is happening, with a bit of griefing and spoling added:

The US economic policy is simply to print money to buy up and waste as many resources as possible to keep them away from the grubby mitts of the opposition ... using the reserve currency status of the USD to force the costs on the rest of the world as inflation. Such.Nice.Allies."we".Got.

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incentivise

Why oh why can I only down vote once...

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Re: "No Chines workers, No iPhone" ...

You really need to buy a new keyboard

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Bronze badge

Re: "No Chines workers, No iPhone" ...

You say that like it's a bad thing.

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Re: incentivise

@ Tom 35

There is some literature you may ( or might? I never get it right. Possibly both? ) want to read.

http://duckduckgo.com/?q=tower+hamlets+postal+vote+scandal

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Anonymous Coward

Re: or maybe those trillions

errm, if you owe someone a few trillion of paper you can print yourself you may find you actually have them by the balls...

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USA?

Simple, just forbid USA products from being made outside of the USA, done. Give them 1 year to get out, or impose heavy fines and shut them down.

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HMB

Re: USA?

I'm trying to decide whether you're suggesting that one of the leading American companies should make less profit, make it's products less competitive, or employ Americans for wages they can't afford to live off?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

Are you trying to say that wealthy corporations should be allowed to make whatever profits at any cost, or are you trying to say that US workers should be paid slave labor wages .... or both

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

I'm trying to decide whether you're suggesting that one of the leading American companies should make less profit, make it's products less competitive, or employ Americans for wages they can't afford to live off?

Maybe it's a suggestion to stay with more local products, such as guns, ammunition, Tomahawks, that sort of stuff. The only problem with that is that the US don't just import goods, they also import money and I can't see them give that up that easily because it would harm their "too big to fail" approach right now instead of in the not too far away future. Furthermore, there would be not that much of a trade left because a lot of energy has to be dragged across the border as well so making goods and transporting them would become that little bit more costly.

So, all in all not the brightest idea - and the Chinese know this too. And I suspect you can notice I got up with a headache, grmbl.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are you trying to say...both

That's pretty much the way that most large organisations are operated these days, and even more so since the start of the recession. Whilst there is a surplus of labour (workers) in the system, wages will continue to fall so that profits can be increased/maintained. Top executives' incomes have jumped higher and higher during the recession while the workers who generate the profits have seen wage cuts. The high earners at the top don't need and won't spend the extra income (they're just hedging), while the fearful workers spend even less, further dragging the economy backwards.

In any case, Foxcon should remove the troublesome workers and send them off to the Soylent Green plants.

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Re: USA?

All the consumers of Apple products who think they are so cool need to wake up to the fact that they are support worker exploitation. Apple has to profits and skill to run its own production lines, without outsourcing the manufacturing to the Foxconns of the world. If I were an Apple customer I would be ashamed..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

And people who post about Apple and Foxcoon need to wake up to the fact that many other companies use them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn#Major_customers

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Re: USA?

And the price diiference between a US built iPhone and a chinese built one would come to about 25 dollars..........

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Meh

Re: USA?

Amazed that the post of HMB got downvotes... Clearly some people here can read but not understand what's being read, or are such a fanboi they downvote without reading. I pitty both...

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@AC

Point well made, I was happy not to see Samsung appear there.

Even so; I do wonder if the demand a company puts on the factory isn't also a big influence in all this. I could imagine Apple in more demand for lots of phones given the current demand in the market than, say, Microsoft or Nokia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC

I support this, most US products are rubbish, if they were expensive and rubbish even fewer people would buy them!

Someone list some purely US manufacturers? I can only really think of companies that make cars, and if ford and GM had to make all their cars in the US I'd laugh my arse off.

Anyway OP is either a retard or a troll.

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HMB

Re: @AC

What interests me is that I was asking tricky questions earlier and they show just how much people don't want to face reality. They might as well stick fingers in their ears and hum stuff to themselves.

Most western manufacturing has taken a brutal hit from the cheap labour available in developing parts of the world, BUT, this is the economics that any flag waving american in particular should be proud of. This is capitalism ladies and gentlemen. When Starbucks and McDonalds were popping up across the world no one in the US was advocating nationalistic protectionism. It was all about free trade and freedom of choice.

As it happens our pain is the developing world's awakening. Is that not at least in a sense fair? How long have we been gorging ourselves while they starve?

I'd like to see everyone do well. National protectionism in economies has a lot more in common with communism than it does capitalism. Capitalism in of itself can be painful at times. A badly run factory will end up going out of business and workers lose jobs. Some people say that the factory should be propped up by law or the state, but really when you start going down that road we all lose.

Capitalism weeds out the weak and rewards the strong and this principle has delivered us the things we love and take for granted today and eggs have been broken in making our modern omelette.

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Re: USA?

>If I were an Apple customer I would be ashamed..

You can't be serious. You are using a computer. Where was that computer assembled/manufactured?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

In the words of Homer Simpson:

"Boy, striking is not the American Way. The American Way is to turn up every day and do a really half-assed job!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

>or are you trying to say that US workers should be paid slave labor wages

Dunno what he meant, but the average salary was $900 a month (before deductions) on the iPhone4 line - and tens of millions of Americans don't make that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

"...or employ Americans for wages they can't afford to live off"

...While the rich shareholders, ceo's and other parasitic white boards at the helm, reap million dollar fees and excessive bonuses. Why not share a bit of the welfare and make live better for EVERYONE, instead of just a select few!

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Re: USA?

The excact reason why I bough a Nokia 701. I live in Europe and bought a European made (hungary) European designed product (Symbian OS Nokia phone).

Unfortunately an AMERICAN parasitic rich bastard has made sure that there are NO phones been made in europe whatsover. He and HE alone convinced an entire board of other rich bastards that their company was on the abbys while they weren'T at all! There is enough proof that when the N8 was released Nokia was NOT at its end and that their plan was a solid plan (replace S40 with ^3, and replace Symbian with Meego)!

In the past I bought and used for as long as possible a Brit invented, designed AND build computer systems (Acorn Computers LTD. Risc PC and A-series machines). I wasn't very happy when for some unkown reason Acorn Computers LTD ceased at the brink of releasing their new Risc PC 2 AKA Phoebe :-(

Although PC and associated things bring bread and butter on the table these days. I still think of them as inferior shoddy crap. If I could go back to those INDEED BETTER times, I'd go in a heartbeat.

But hey, the new iPhone has an extra row of icons down there... gee I hadn't noticed that... How jolly!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC

What you advocate is not capitalism but corruption and greed! M$ has corrupted his place in the PC industry and so did many others. In fact on another page on EL Reg there's this article about an American woman who duped millions of people with malware. She is also a product of US capitalism, fueled by the greed shown on TV by the rich and famous. Who show off with their big mansions and luxury cars while the average American has to be happy with his or her crappy Hyundai (used to be crappy toyotas but as these are too expensive now...).

In fact someone commented something to think about. This woman gets fined for more money then she ever 'earned' while the really rich bastards whom steal BILLIONS are kept quiet. E.g: Why are the Lehman Brothers not in jail? Why are THEY not fined! They duped a lot more people for A LOT MORE MONEY!

If that's your capitalism then you can keep it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

"You can't be serious. You are using a computer. Where was that computer assembled/manufactured?"

Actually I build my desktop PC at my house.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USA?

I have no problem with $900 a month provided that my landlord also charges me no more then $250 rent and that a bread doesn't cost more than 50 cents.

But I'm not OK with the fact that my boss has in the mean time has so much money that he and his entire family live in the biggest luxury for the rest of their lives, while I'm unemployed and fill plastic bags at a local warehouse to barely pay the rent.

What many Americans call capitalism is nothing more than "a grab'em while you can culture"!

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Trollface

Re: USA?

My quad core HP: "Made and assembled in Houston Texas"

My Samsung 32 inch monitor "Made in Korea"

My Samsung Galaxy S3 "Made in Korea" "Battery Made in Japan and finished in Korea"

Although HP is currently building a facility in China and is expected to go online in 2015

http://www.pcworld.com/article/253997/hp_to_build_new_printer_manufacturing_facility_in_china.html

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It's a new world order of very old world practices...

Back to the 1000's year old slave practices I see. Seems those running things still don't believe in providing the slaves better tools or training that will produce better results but instead just whip them harder...bad idea. Even a animal whipped and pushed to hard to plow a field might revolt and trample the owner into the earth.

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Re: It's a new world order of very old world practices...

I'm sorry, I seem to have strayed from the reg's comment section to the Bible.

Proverbs 22:17

"And in an attempt to sound authoritative on the Internet, he spoke thus...

'Even a animal whipped and pushed to hard to plow a field might revolt and trample the owner into the earth.'"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a new world order of very old world practices...

Mind you, the bible probably spelled "too" and "plough" properly.

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Anonymous Coward

Philistine :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a new world order of very old world practices...

Of course the Bible spells Proverbs 22:17 correctly: הַט אָזְנְךָ--וּשְׁמַע, דִּבְרֵי חֲכָמִים; וְלִבְּךָ, תָּשִׁית לְדַעְתִּי What's incorrect with that ? But it doesn't translate as claimed above.

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Gold badge

˙˙ɟɟo ƃuıʍoɥs ʇsnɾ ǝɹ,noʎ ʍoN

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a new world order of very old world practices...

But it doesn't translate as claimed above.

Perhaps that was the point?

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Mushroom

Re: It's a new world order of very old world practices...

But that looks like standard Hebrew script, whereas the bible was almost all written in Ashuri.

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Anonymous Coward

@RICHTO

the bible was almost all written in Ashuri

In the context in which 'Ashuri' was so used, it refers to a variant Hebrew font or calligraphic style and not an alphabet or language distinct from Hebrew. Bit like the difference between the game of chess played with different sets - the pieces and rules are the same, appearances of the pieces are different. Also the New Testament was written in Greek.

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detail work at sub-millimeter accuracy

Isn't that what factory robots were invented for?

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Re: detail work at sub-millimeter accuracy

Robots cost money. They're cost effective in western manufacturing, but with the crap wages that Chinese workers get, they're much cheaper than robots.

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Re: detail work at sub-millimeter accuracy

Yes.

And for the really tricky stuff.. The electronics, Pick and place machines are used. They have to be. The parts are so small, it is physically impossible for a human to hand solder them these days. Big robotic electronics assembly machines.

Imagine trying to solder a resistor that is abotu half a mm long on a near microscopic solder pad. Not possible for human eyes to even see the things unaided. Much less to manipulate the hot end of a soldering iron finely enough to do the job.

The workers are there for the stuff that is too non uniform for a machine to do the job. Assembling the PCB into the casing, plugging the ribbon connectors into sockets, gluing down the front and spitting on it before packing.

Robots are good at unchanging repetitive movements. But humans still out perform them in situations where putting part A into part B and then plugging part C into another part at a funny angle comes into play.

Sounds to me like Apple have made a difficult to assemble product, and now also expect workers to work faster with more delicate components.

Does not bode well for the fruity ones.

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Re: detail work at sub-millimeter accuracy

>Sounds to me like Apple have made a difficult to assemble product

That was my first thought on reading the article - engineering failure.

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