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back to article Foxconn: THESE child workers were NOT making Apple products

Apple manufacturer Foxconn has admitted that child labourers were working at one of its factories in China. The Taiwanese firm said an internal investigation found employees as young as 14 working at its plant in Yantai in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong, according to China Labour Watch. The US-based NGO said Foxconn …

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Megaphone

Nothing to see here

Don't worry everyone. It's OKAY. The "interns" aren't working on Apple products; just doing "school projects".

Move along now.

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Anonymous Coward

It refers to

'Chinese workers are healthy and fit, they also look much younger than they really are' a spokesman confirmed today.

Zhongshan Daily 15/10/2012

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Anonymous Coward

This is the actual factory that produces Apple's goods.

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K
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Facepalm

Long "working" hours, unhealthy conditions, disgusting dorms

Sounds like a Butlin's holiday camp to me..

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Coat

Re: Long "working" hours, unhealthy conditions, disgusting dorms

Or student halls.

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Linux

Re: Long "working" hours, unhealthy conditions, disgusting dorms

Trust me, the only thing these poor kids are studying is what it is like working under slave labor conditions. Foxconn exists, in part, because free trade agreements have made it very profitable for major corporations (such as Apple) to ship all of their manufacturing to these poor nations where labors laws are scarce. In spite of Apple's wealth, I doubt that many US workers benefit from the companies activities.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long "working" hours, unhealthy conditions, disgusting dorms

Except lowering the price they have to pay for products and removing the need for hard, boring, often dangerous work. Also in general a lot of the work that is done by cheap foreign labor wouldn't suddenly be done by Benefits Jo but would instead be done by a robot as in the mid to long term the robot would be cheaper then a person in the West, but not as cheap as foreign Labor in the second or third world.

Also having cheap foreign labor do all the back breaking work for us allows us on the whole to focus on higher value enterprises. Such as designing the things made by people in sweatshops.

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Re: Long "working" hours, unhealthy conditions, disgusting dorms

Apple now employs far more workers in the US today than it did when manufacturing of its products was done in the US. The reason is because the labor cost savings were put to R&D, which led to the development of the top-selling iProducts. With that money, they were able to open the fabulous Apple stores, leading to them employ thousands more employees in the US alone. This was a case where outsourcing seems to have created jobs here.

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Facepalm

Re: Long "working" hours, unhealthy conditions, disgusting dorms

"Apple now employs far more workers in the US today ... they were able to open the fabulous Apple stores, leading to them employ thousands more employees in the US alone. This was a case where outsourcing seems to have created jobs here."

I dare-say the Caribbean sugar industry created quite a lot of jobs in England too.

Woot! Slavery is great!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long "working" hours, unhealthy conditions, disgusting dorms

I did some crappy jobs and work 'experience' when I was 14-16. That did not make the news back then?

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Stop

Not a reason to refuse to buy an Apple product................

But definitely a reason to not buy anything they produce until they get a positive report that all the problems are sorted and the workers are happy with conditions etc.

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Facepalm

Re: Not a reason to refuse to buy an Apple product................

"But definitely a reason to not buy anything they produce until they get a positive report that all the problems are sorted and the workers are happy with conditions etc."

Or an Xbox... or a PS3... or a Wii... or a Kindle... Or... Or... the list goes on.

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Re: Not a reason to refuse to buy an Apple product................

It's a paradox. Apple will use any means necessary to provide frugal consumers a desirable product. While Apple could definitely lean on their manufacturers they generally don't and in turn, attempt to walk the line between keeping the margin high and distancing themselves from a necessary evil, in it's supply chain.

Is Apple breaking any laws? No. However, I do find it questionable that given the demand of the product, that someone at Fox is scrambling ass over applecart to deliver product to Cupertino to sell. So circumstantially, they're pushing the boundries by subsidising a company that abuses its workforce, through long hours and crappy working conditions.

So, we as consumers are left with a choice between: A) Shiney new kit that's relatively inexpensive or B) Being supportive of human rights in a developing, but major world power. Idealistically we'd all support the latter, but most of us don't.

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Re: Not a reason to refuse to buy an Apple product................

and, until then, the workers are to continue producing whatever the line they're on produces. and, collecting wages. and. And all the companies (named Apple, naturally) having goods manufactured on those lines will continue to have goods manufactured at the same rates on those same lines, while the cash that flows along lines established by the relationships in place (e.g. between all those companies--named Apple, naturally--and FoxConn) will continue to flow. And... Please! Give it a rest! The wider problem is global capitalism in its current form, but you don't really have a problem with that. Apparently.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not a reason to refuse to buy an Apple product................

It gives these people jobs - sure not it's a job and pay you or I would want but for them it's almost certainly better than the alternative. You can't judge them by how much you earn.

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Obviously this is Apple's fault. Or not. How about all the other companies whose products are manufactured at Foxconn... going to boycott all of them too?

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Stop

The article didn't blame Apple. The only implication that they may be to blame came from your post....FOR SHAME, go to the back of the next iThing queue, do not pass go and do not collect a complimentary employee high five.

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Facepalm

@Cam2A - yes but the post above (big ted's, which I suspect they were trying to reply to) did.

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Facepalm

Big ted said it's not a reason to refuse to buy an Apple product so I can only conclude that the "they" in the his comment refers to Foxconn as its them that do the production. Foxconn also produce things for suppliers other than Apple so my tongue in cheek post still stands.

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FAIL

It may not be anything to do with Apple

but Chinese industry really does seem to be the unacceptable face of capitalism. We think up some amazing stuff, but socially we're still just a bunch of killer apes.

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Re: It may not be anything to do with Apple

"Chinese industry really does seem to be the unacceptable face of capitalism."

It's been many years since an officially capitalist country has been the unacceptable face of capitalism. The same is true for environmental issues. Dictatorships of any notional flavour have always been worse.

It's funny. You get these people telling you how awful your liberal democracy is and how they could create a better society, and eventually these people get a country to play in where they can make the rules and force everyone to be better, and it always ends up sucky. At the end of the day, the best system ever invented is the one where you can get rid of the bastards at the end of their term of office.

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FAIL

Re: It may not be anything to do with Apple

"just a bunch of killer apes."

I read "just a bunch of killer apps"... Must be the booze.

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Paris Hilton

Maybe there were doing GCSEs in repetitive low paid work - I heard the Tories want to bring that in here under a new name so that school leavers are well trained in stacking pound shop shelves.

Paris because she has both A and O levels!

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THESE child workers were NOT making Apple products

Oh, good. That's fine then. Hurrah!

face,desk,face,desk

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Re: THESE child workers were NOT making Apple products

They were doing something else for nothing which allows us to undercut the competition when it comes to bidding for the Apple contract.

As you say: hurrah, indeed.

I feel insulted that this was even offered to me as an excuse.

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So, if they weren't making Apple products...

...how about naming and shaming whose products they WERE working on?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, if they weren't making Apple products...

Good point. Samsung perhaps - oh they have their own factories that DO employ child labour but it's apparently OK as they do not pay them!

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Anonymous Coward

Big deal

Seriously, the minimum legal age is 14 in the US. You can work at 14 in most countries, even if only part-time. I believe you can work full-time at 15 in Switzerland. So okay, the law was not respected, but if that was the worst happening at Foxconn, I would be quite relieved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big deal

The minimum age for factory work in the US is 16, and that requires OSHA rates the work as no risk, which foxconn would never get, and also for very limited hours. 14-15 can work even more limited hours in retail, or food service (but not preparation).

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Facepalm

Re: Big deal

I could be wrong, but I believe working conditions and minimum wage regulations in switzerland might be *slightly* different to those found in factories in china.

And as has been repeatedly shown, this is NOT the worst thing happening at Foxconn - riots, horrid working conditions, forced overtime, suicide...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big deal

According to Wikipedia, it is quite common in the US to find 14 years olds employed in farm work. I would prefer factory work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big deal

I worked when I was 14 and did work experience - sure it may only have been at weekends / holidays etc. but I doubt these Chinese 14 year olds were 'forced' into it. If anyone it sounds like the schools are to blame - they KNOW how old these kids were - the people at the factory were negligent they did not check but I'd point the finger at the schools first.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big deal

You have to put suicides into perspective - Foxconn employs over 1m people - I suspect most in the 18-25 age band - now work out the suicide rate for them over 3 years then compare it to 1m 18-25 year olds in US universities or pretty much anywhere over the same 3 year period. I do not have the stats to hand but suspect it is not all that different.

Or compare the suicide rate of 1m Chinese workers at Foxconn to 1m Chinese workers with the same age distribution NOT at Foxconn over the same 3 year period.

Some quick facts - Lithuania reported 31.6 suicides per 100,000 people per year - so that 316 per 1m - makes the 10 at Foxconn look quite small. Don't like Lithuania - let's try Switzerland - 11.1 per 100,000 - so that's 111 per 1m. China as a whole 222 per million, UK is 69 per 1m people per year.

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Pint

Re: Big deal

Farm work is easier than factory - worked in cotton farming for a couple of years. Longer hours but a helluvalot less stressful. However, Obama is trying to stop that - unfair to "undocumented workers" or some such (!?!).

AC further up? I worked delivering newpapers @13, @15 was honored with a $1.35/hr job at El Taco - that lasted three days until the whole shift got fired for being caught in a massive food fight by the manager one night.

:)

icon? no reason, just thirsty..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big deal

The worst year for suicides at Foxconn was 2010 when there were 14 but they actually employ over 1.2m people so the figures are not significantly different. The basic fact is in the UK around 70 people per million (7 per 100,000) commit suicide per year - at Foxconn it is less than 14 in that worst year. So the UK asa whole is 5 times worse.

I'm not defending them - but when you have any large population you will have suicides. It would be equally disingenuous if a company with 10 staff had 1 person commit suicide so the news report they have an appalling 10% suicide rate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big deal

So, pretty much like working in UK's service industry, like banks and so on, only with riotings and suicides added :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big deal

You didn't really do farm work then. Having worked on my uncle's farm, I'd rather be in a boring factory.

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Anonymous Coward

Like I'd believe Foxconn...

This is just a symbolic jesture to appease those who know what a horrible slave shop Foconn is with over a million slaves. With the beatings and torture that goes on daily, it's no wonder a dozen have committed suicide and a mass suicide was threatened due to the inhumane treatment these people experience every day at the hands of their guards and managers. It's an International disgrace IMO that Foxconn isn't punished and that all UK and U.S. contracts aren't canceled.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Like I'd believe Foxconn...

Samsung PR? Get your own house in order before you throw stones.

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Some of you don't seem to understand...

...that if China labour operated under the same US laws and ideals, they would *cost* the same as a US counterpart, and in effect, be a little more expensive than manufacturing within the US in the first place.

So, you can pick either a cheap product made with slave labour, or, a significantly more expensive product manufactured with TLC, sweet flowers and rainbows where all the workers are deliriously happy.

Pick one, and only one. Remember if you pick the expensive option, you're pricing several ranges of products outside the ability of a whole bunch of people.

That would make smartphone users confined to young urban professionals with lots of liquid funds to throw around, and out of the hands of idiot teenagers who need to twitter their idiot friends what they're doing at every bloody moment.

Which some would say is a good thing.

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Re: Some of you don't seem to understand...

But the nice thing about the ones built with slave labour - the ones made on a friday afternoon are just as good !

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Re: Some of you don't seem to understand...

Just make the goods in the UK and U.S. and free the slaves. No one needs the inferior crap produced in Japan be it Apple branded, Microsucks, Acer or Foxconn - to name just a few. The slight price increase to make an sell it in the UK or U.S. can come out of the multi-million dollar CEO annual bonuses that are paid in addition to the CEO base salary of millions, paid annually.

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Trollface

Re: Boris S. you don't seem to understand...

No one needs the inferior crap produced in Japan be it Apple branded, Microsucks, Acer or Foxconn - to name just a few

Just as well it's manufactured in China then, or did all the references to China somehow display as Japan? If so, that would be the Chinese manufactured display you are using. maybe you should send it off for repair to a factory in China so that a Chinese worker can repair it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some of you don't seem to understand...

Do you genuinely believe these Chinese 'slaves' (as you put it) would be better off if they lost their jobs - they travel long distances and queue to apply for jobs as the pay / conditions are generally better than the alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some of you don't seem to understand...

You've never seen a Chinese factory. It's labor-intensive far beyond what you'd find in the U.S. Imagine what a pack of cigarettes would cost if that cellophane wrap was hand applied. China would be unable to sell anything if it followed U.S. minimum wage and environmental laws because the cost would be huge.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some of you don't seem to understand...

China needs to address and resolve their own internal over-population and commerce issues and not rely on contracts from the U.S. and UK to fund their slave shops so that a few in management can reap fortunes while inhumanely treating the slaves.

The Slumlord U.S. and UK corporate CEOs should be tried for use of slave labor and sent to prison. It's a disgrace and illegal.

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Anonymous Coward

Anyone know 'how many' 14 year olds were employed. Wonder how many 14 year olds are 'working' in Northern Ireland. People forget Foxconn employs 1.2M people - for a bit of perspective the population of Northern Ireland is around 1.8M (50% larger).

So if Apple pulled all those jobs and moved them 'somewhere else' would those workers be better or worse off?

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Anonymous Coward

I remember doing work experience when I was about 14-15. Was I being exploited?

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Anonymous Coward

Dunno, was it for a DJ in the 70s? :P

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RE:RE some of you don't seem to understand...

You seem to think its OK for companies to treat is employees like shit because the alternative would be unemployment. Lets face it, with Apple being Foxconn's biggest customer then they should demand fair working conditions which they themselves intrude.

Apple's huge profit margins are only possible because of the cheapest labour. Steve Jobs always banged on about changing the world for the better but at the end of the day it was/ is all about profit.

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