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back to article Arbitrators side with Foxconn in brain-damaged worker case

Chinese layout arbitrators have ruled against the family of the Foxconn worker who was brain-damaged in a factory accident in Shenzhen. Zhang Tingzhen was injured while at work in October 2011 and had to have nearly half of his brain surgically removed. He has been in hospital in Shenzhen city ever since. Problems arose between …

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Facepalm

Causing concern about human rights

"Hiring workers in one city were wages and compensation are low and then sending them to work in more expensive cities is common practice for big companies in China, according to labour activists, and along with excessive overtime, punishments and underage employment, is causing concern about human rights in the country."

I wasn't aware that there was a time (since I've been alive at least) where there wasn't concern about human rights in China, and for much more serious reasons than employment issues.

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Re: Causing concern about human rights

You have to admit that they have studied the best of the Mill owner's history and raised them by a pension or two....

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Boo! Hiss! Villains!

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Facepalm

Boycott them buy nothing from China!

Oh... hang on almost everything is made there now, scratch that.

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Re: Boycott them buy nothing from China!

I was just wondering if it was possible to get a list of manufacturers who used Foxconn, but you're probably right that the only way to boycott them is to avoid buying any electronic goods.

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The beauty of the slave trade

Once it is set up it is too powerful a money maker to be removed without considerable violence.

We have it Britain too when supermarkets (for just on very obvious example) work a ring to underpay farmers etc and force their labourers to work in what would normally be considered Victorian regimes if it were not for Britain's vital need to police everything from Terrrrsts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boycott them buy nothing from China!

Apple is at least trying to move production back to the US.

Of course even if you wanted to move production somewhere else there are a lot of minerals there which are important to production of modern electronic kit. China has vowed not to export these materials.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jackperkowski/2012/06/21/behind-chinas-rare-earth-controversy/

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Mushroom

>:(

This is pretty goddamn repulsive. A guy has to have a significant portion of his cranial matter removed and the company bungs him a handful of coppers and tells him to get lost? That's fucked up even by Chinese work ethics.

Are there any mobile manufacturers that don't use Foxconn? Because shit like this honestly does make me reconsider where I buy my stuff from

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Re: >:(

It seems what Foxconn said was "the law says you have to go and be assessed in Huizhou". Now the arbitration committee has ruled that yes, the law does indeed say he has to go and be assessed in Huizhou.

What did people expect Foxconn to do, turn round and say "no problem, we'll just get the law changed so you don't have to go there for assessment"?!

Foxconn *haven't* told him to "get lost" - they've kept paying a salary on top of medical costs - but Chinese law (and, Reuters seem to indicate, their insurance policy) requires an assessment by the government disability office in Huizhou.

It's not as if he's expected to travel to another country: it's only 43 miles away! I'd be expected to travel further than that if I needed specialist medical treatment right here in the UK (the hospital near my home is a minor one, the one 20 miles away my research is in doesn't cover all specialties: a lot of cardiac stuff gets sent 50-60 miles south).

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Re: >:(

And what do you suppose the chances of him surviving that trip and the trip back to the hospital are?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: >:(

What makes you think the lower profile companies are any better? if Foxconn are bad and are audited by Apple and others then the other companies you could use are probable even worse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: >:(

And if he dies on the way there or on the way back; they don't have a salary or medical bills to pay anymore.

What *I* read was that it was ruled that he was hired in Huizhou and Foxconn won that battle. That does not mean that the family will be forced to take him there. Bad publicity as well as government intervention can get the assessment done locally or even at the hospital. It is not like the Huizhou is magically different than one done elsewhere. I also didn't read where it said that it was a law that he had to go to Huizhou.

If it is only 43 miles away, then an assessor from Huizhou can come to him.

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Inspiring

Someday soon in Britain, the tyranny of people being paid about the same for doing a job almost anywhere in the country may be overturned. And then, people of their own free will will relocate to the places where they are paid more for doing the same work. Although I guess in China you aren't allowed to do that either. Another example for us to consider.

The big contradiction of what I just sarcastically said is "London weighting", where the cost of having a home in London - or doing anything else there - is way more than it is elsewhere in the country, so, even basic service industry people have to be paid more there, or there wouldn't be any. And there are some other places where a salary reflects the inconvenience of being where your job requires you to be, such as on an oil rig far away in the North Sea, or, inside a burning building. Well - you don't necessarily have to be -inside- a burning building if you're a professional burning-building stopper. Until they tell you that you do. It's a job that I would feel uncomfortable doing, anyway, so I'll say no more.

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Re: Inspiring

"burning-building stopper"

Is there much work in stopping burning buildings from doing whatever it is that they need to be stopped from doing? As a professional keyboard tapper (dual-roled with screen staring), I'm open to alternative lines of work.

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Re: Inspiring

I had this case in mind but I'm not sure that I should say so. It's serious.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-20637819

Here is one that is slightly funny.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-20636234

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FAIL

Simple, boycott Foxconn and let their customers, your suppliers, know

I am aching my employer to add a line to supply contracts:

The Vendor certifies that the products supplied contain zero content from any entity owned by Foxconn.

If you buy App;e products, tell Apple what you think.

Foxconn - pore scum.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple, boycott Foxconn and let their customers, your suppliers, know

Why just Foxconn?

Samsung for example has killed at least 56 workers and still denies everything in court.

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_business/536185.html

You'd better get ready to boycott the whole IT industry,

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Mushroom

Re: Simple, boycott Foxconn and let their customers, your suppliers, know

Yeah but let's not allow silly inconvenience like facts get in the way of a good Apple-bashing revenue stream...

...for anybody who doesn't ad-block select sites who's articles are overtly trolling anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple, boycott Foxconn and let their customers, your suppliers, know

Acer, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility (Google), Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba.

You'd better avoid all of the above too as they use Foxconn. Your computer probably has Foxconn made SATA cables.

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Unhappy

Amazing advances!

Foxconn are actually admitting to being in the wrong, and paying for the worker? It's not so long ago that any of these Chinese political parties (CCP, KMT, whatever) would just have taken a bung and seen to it that the family was shut up for good - no questions asked. As for anyone else that might ask about the victim, er, who was that again? And "Do you really want to remember a name like that? Move along, now!"

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Thumb Up

Thumbs up to the hack

who came up with "Fondleslabricator!"

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Anonymous Coward

Not Chinese

Of course, Foxconn is not a Chinese company as we normally understand it, ie, from the 'socialist' People's Republic of China. In fact It's Taiwanese, ie, from the archly capitalist Republic of China. It merely has production facilities in the PRC.

Foxconn also makes stuff in Europe (Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), Brazil and Mexico, as well as in other countries in Asia.

And, according to the NYT, Foxconn "assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony".

I'm not sure why Apple and the PRC get all the hate - there are more and better targets out there and, let's face it, they're all robber barons anyway.

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@AC: Why Apple and the PRC get all the hate

"I'm not sure why Apple and the PRC get all the hate - there are more and better targets out there and, let's face it, they're all robber barons anyway."

For me, there are two simple reasons for it.

1) Apple's margins are enormous whereas the margins for every other hardware company range from "paper-thin" to "razor-thin". If there is one company that can afford to pay its workers a decent wage and provide with at least somewhat humane working conditions it is Apple - and before anyone objects, let me state that I am cognizant of the morally-immaterial fact that the Foxconn workers are not directly employed by Apple. But, as I just said, that, as far as I am concerned, is morally immaterial.

2) The PRC or rather the Chinese government is pretty directly responsible for protecting its workers, even if that government seems to be populated almost exclusively by corrupt officials concerned with lining their own pockets, and the well-being of their citizens is simply a commodity to be bargained away or given to commercial interests in exchange for whatever petty personal advantages can be gotten for it.

Hope that helps.

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Facepalm

Re: @AC: Why Apple and the PRC get all the hate

So Apple pay Foxconn more money for workers. Where do you think that money is going to go?

They've already tried this, twice that I know about, and there is just no way of guaranteeing that any extra contract pay will end up where intended, or at least after the inspectors have audited payroll.

You are closer the mark with the Chinese Government. The UK used to have labour standards like this once and it's only the government that can make a big difference quickly. Can you think of a good reason they may not be so keen to do this though?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC: Why Apple and the PRC get all the hate

Apple requests a quote for parts, Foxconn tell them a cost. Apple agrees or goes elsewhere.

Apple has no control over wages of a contractor. Even if Apple paid twice as much for a part it doesn't mean that this extra money would go to the pockets of the workers.

Apple have stated their reasons for using Foxconn or other Chinese suppliers, they have good access to the supply chain for parts and materials.

Try building something in the UK. Even the people behind the Raspberry Pi realised it was going to be an uphill struggle to make them in the UK.

Apple are making computers in the US again now and this will help develop the supply chain there.

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Re: @AC: Why Apple and the PRC get all the hate

"Apple's margins are enormous whereas the margins for every other hardware company range from "paper-thin" to "razor-thin"."

That means the non-Apple companies

a) pass their savings on to the consumer, who is thus profiting from the immiseration of Chinese workers.

and

b) have incentive to pressure Foxconn for even worse working conditions to increase their slim profit margin, and no incentive to push for improvements that would cut into that profit margin.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC: Why Apple and the PRC get all the hate

"and the well-being of their citizens is simply a commodity to be bargained away or given to commercial interests in exchange for whatever petty personal advantages can be gotten for it"

Yes, workers' fate in China was much better under Mao. Oh wait, no, it wasn't.

Or during the Japanese occupation. Err. No.

Surely during Warlords period? Still nope.

Or under the Empire? Can't find such evidence.

During the Western occupation? Ah, no, Western democracies were not exactly bothered by Cinese workers' human rights, it seems.

And so it goes till the Fighting Kingdoms.

So, it appears that as imperfect as it is, the current status of the Chinese workers since Deng Xiaoping is the best they've ever had. And not only that, it is still improving.

So, whose fault could that be? Maybe that utmost hypocrite, the Western consumer who blames Apple and the PRC - but would scream murder if those nifty electronic devices were priced to pay the workers making them at Western rates......

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FAIL

The only thing dumber than trusting a Chinese manufacturer is trusting a Chinese court or a Chinese arbitrator. At least Foxconn is paying *something*.

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It's time the fanbois got off their hipster arses

There are squillions of fanbois in the world so why don't they start a fund to pay for this bloke's healthcare? A quid each would cover it easily.

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Anonymous Coward

What would you expect in China?

I mean we are talking about the biggest slave camp in the world. People there have no rights there. The government just exploits it's people. Why would you expect an arbitrator to side with an individual when Foxconn would gladly pay the arbitrator to deny the health claim benefits? You'd be naive to expect anything different.

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Anonymous Coward

Good idea

Boycotting Foxconn and all products from companies who use Foxconn is ameans to vote with your wallet if you have a moral compass. Some of those companies are Rotten Apple, Acer, Microsucks, etc.

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Holmes

Re: Good idea

So who would you continue to recommend we buy from. Come on let's hear this list of the saints of manufacturing...

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Unhappy

It is sad -

However, like it or not, this is inclusive in the price you pay for your electronic goodies, worldwide. Boycotts won't do it, protest won't do it - as long as the masses buy in to the perpetual 'latest & greatest' marketing ploys, behind the scene happenstances such as this (& how many HAVEN'T we heard of) will continue. Industry, and the power & money engendered thereof, are at the top of the pile - the price you pay isn't limited to money. Perhaps it would be more appropriate these days to review what one needs vs what one wants.

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Standard policy in China...

A report on the BBC World Service recently mentioned that Chinese migrant workers are semi-permanently tied to their home region. Say a person goes from Huizhou to Shenzen to work. Then they need healthcare. They have to go all the way back to Huizhou and seek treatment there.

This is probably where the Huizhou-vs.-Shenzen part comes in, as James100 alluded above.

I suppose the reason the worker has been treated in Shenzen at all is because of Foxconn, and perhaps because it was an emergency situation.

I think there's some kind of residence permit you can get that would move your official residence to the new location for these purposes, but they can be hard to get.

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Anonymous Coward

Also in the UK, not just China

SERCO hired me at their gloucester office to work on an outsourced site London, no London weighting as my official office was Gloucester.in

THe fact I lived in London, had higher living costs and saved them paying someone from Gloucester office to commute daily didnt change things until 3 years later and a new manager.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Also in the UK, not just China

Same issue here. Many people living close to the edges of london end up working just outside the conurbation.

Ironically there are things like "Surrey weighting" but most employers refuse to pay them.

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Hmm..

So you get employed by Foxconn in Huizhou to do a job and they transfer you to Shenzen for a bit of training which results in you having the local 'medicare' removing half your brane, along with the associated incriminating 'Apple Centric' components from it. Then you get forced repatriation back to Huizhou for less compensation.

OTOH you get employed by Foxconn in Huizhou to do a job and they transfer you to Shenzen for a bit of training which results in you transferring your new skills, with an intact brane, back to Huizhou where you and your lesser paid workers make Apple products cheaper. *Profit*

I'll lose the 'plot' here but is this not like being transported to a place where getting raped is illegal and results in heavy penalties against the rapist but having to plead your case in a place where rape is kind of acceptable and you might expect a weeks supply of 'Cup O Soup' in compensation?

Or...

Apple choosing an 'appropriate' US court to prosecute their patent claims rather than.....

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Anonymous Coward

Money talks

And employees are exploited.

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