The Fair Labor Association's (FLA's) latest report on workers at Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, Apple's preferred source for many iThings, has found many staff are still working longer hours than is allowed under Chinese law. The report (PDF) is based on audits of Foxconn plants in Guanlan, Longhua and Chengdu. The report was …
Foxconn do make stuff for others don't they?
Apple is one of foxconn's biggest contract's. every product from apple is pretty much made there. Since apple makes so much money off it they are ones that get biggest black eye from it.
They do but adding Apple to the story makes it more newsworthy...
And it's also been reported (elsewhere) that Apple are moving some of their production to other companies - so it's not as simple to assume because Foxconn are reducing hours or staff it's all down to Apple. But of course it makes better headlines...
Chinese software engineers. I had a few working for me on my last project. They would never go home even when you didn't need them to put in such long hours. I remember one evening at the integration lab being surprised because they had left the office at 7:30 which was far earlier than their usual habit. It turns out they had found out where the nearest Chinese restaurant was (yes really, and there i was thinking the Chinese didn't like their own feed as served-up in the West). But then by 9:15 they were all filing back into the lab to get a bit more work done before turning in.
I hardly dare tell you the average bug fix rates they sustained as compared with Western engineers. It was embarrassing and couldn't to any degree be accounted for by hours alone.
Let me just say "multiples."
They weren't asked or expected to do these hours. They seemed lost if asked not to.
Putting all politics aside. On the practical level alone, how the hell do we think we can compete when such a level that commitment to getting the job done is, in a manner of speaking, in their DNA?
here's a question, What is their hour pay ? sure that is reason they do it, get paid so little they gotta work them selves to death just to survie.
Their pay is relative. Dollar for dollar they earn less but in China the cost of living is much lower. A basic Western wage would allow you to live like a king in China. A cup of cheap coffee here would be a huge breakfast there.
It's a different work ethic and we (in the West) judge them based on what we deem right or fair not on what they want / need / whatever to do.
No, these were not sweatshop workers, but workers with degrees, working for a a Western company with offices in Beijing. For sure they were paid a lot less than their Western counterparts. Even as AC I won't say the amount. The ratio of cost was about 1/3 their Western equivalent, but note that does not give an indication if relative rates of pay because all business costs are so much lower over there. By Chinese standards they were paid very well and would have been considered successful young men by their peers. Put it this way, they could afford iPhones if they wanted them. So again, multiples of our own engineers productivity,1/3 the cost (the cost ratio is slowly but surely changing BTW and is by now probably edging towards 1/2). We can pretend this isn't happening, but how are we going to compete (other than wait for them to get rich and lazy like us by which time we will probably be poor and lazy) ?
Cloud cuckoo land
I take it the fact the number of comments posted on this forum has almost stopped is indication that for at least some of the readers - though we have all known the Chinese have superior productivity for some time - have no reply to stark reality. No matter what political stance we adhere to, no matter how we try to spin it: we, and especially out politicians, are living in cloud cuckoo land.
It's in our DNA too.
Re: Cloud cuckoo land
I think it's more likely that a vast readership of the Register don't have any first hand experience of the living conditions, working conditions, work ethics, socio-economic environment or cultural backdrop of mainland China, so passing judgement about such things might be deemed unsavoury?
We hear about the huge factories, kilometres in size, and it sounds ghastly.
How can you criticise someone who is forced to endure that environment out of necessity?
@AC 6:16 More or less follows my experience. As you say - how do ever expect to compete? At one time we (the well-educated westerners) had the route to market in our singular grasp. We are losing our exclusivity on that as well now.
FoxConn also makes stuff for other companies
But that would be worth reporting now would it?
If it has the word Apple in it then you are bound to get a lot more hits thus Ad views and therefore $$$ ££££ etc for EL Reg funds.
TGIF, only 9 and a bit hours to beer time.
"An insight into the nature of Chinese Communism can also be found in the report's “notable increases in the participation of workers in union committees and a corresponding decline in management participation in such committees”. And there we were thinking that a Communist country would have lots of workers on union committees! Silly us."
And there I was thinking a) that communism is largely miss-implemented, and abused (see Orwell and Animal Farm), that the socialist aspect of communism is largely not implemented (China is now a capitalist country anyway), with gains taken by those who hold the means of production, and not by the workforce, worker rights have virtually nothing to do with classic communism.
And certainly nothing to do with neo-liberal capitalism
Left for dust
I remember well the experience I had when i had just left university that could sit on parallel lines but in England for this.
I serviced hardware/software chip and pin machines and would always try to find ways to make it both more pleasant and efficient. Here is a list of some of those and the effect
- The software we used was hosted on an intranet and only updated every other week. I would download the relevant tools if changed and put them on my desktop for one click use. This saved my having to go through the company intranet pages which were 2 deep and slow so. Much faster and convenient, I could lay them out in order as needed. Management response (some young man who clearly enjoyed his position too much) made me stop doing this as it meant my toolchain would always be outdated....
- The units that came in would just be thrown in to a box with the only thing differentiating them a label; each station would take a different type of "fix" at different times to keep it a little different. One morning, whilst getting my devices, any devices that didn't meet my current task, would put them in a separate making someone elses life easier, it certainly didn't make mine any different. The manager came over and was furious, accusing me of wasting my time tidying up the devices; at this point I still only had half of the devices I needed.
Not meaning to blow my own horn, I was the most productive worker in that workshop by at least three times, most of the others were very lazy polish who couldn't speak much English. I was late the next day after the above instance (5AM start!) and I was welcomed by the manager smiling telling me to go home. It was his victory...
I believe the problem is rather simple. It isn't just that China is (for now cheaper) it's that Britain has lost a lot of the fire to its flame.
Foxconn Apple's preferred source?
"The Fair Labor Association's (FLA's) latest report on workers at Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, Apple's preferred source for many iThings"
As well as many others including Microsoft and Intel ..
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