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back to article Apple iPhone factory workers imprisoned in virtual slavery – report

Global manufacturing giant Flextronics International, which supplies components for Apple, Cisco, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft, among others, has been accused of virtually imprisoning workers in indentured servitude. Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Thursday the sad saga of one Nepalese chap, Bibek Dhong, who left his home in a …

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Bronze badge

OK, so what can *we* do?

Motorola is assembling its X phone in Texas. So is the next phone we buy Motorola?

I buy green coffee, and there are a variety of certifications, like "Farm Gate" or "Fair Trade." But what do we do for consumer electronics?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

I'm sure Flextronics would like that. They run the place for Google.

What you do for Consumer Electronics is to teach your children that there is no statute of limitations on asshole. This is a bit difficult because they are children, but it is a tangible benefit the aforementioned assholes' children will never have.

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Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

I'm keeping my eye on http://www.fairphone.com and a colleague has pre-ordered one. Maybe there is another way but seeing is believing...

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Big Brother

Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

You are not supposed to do anything.

How come laws are not being upheld over there? Hmm..... Someome must be a nice, fat crony of someone in power. Like Italy, only with another language.

Meanwhile, cheap devices. Which you may or may not choose to buy.

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Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

I started out in my first job, a long time ago, Teaching Zardax on Apple IIe, I owned a Lisa, and Original Mac, MAC II and Mac Emu in Amiga, but No more, since then, because these stories of "Apple Slave Factory" persist, it not Apple Comp Exec actually whipping workers etc, it is about Apple screwing these companies on Price to manufacture, and like stupid greedy pigs that they can be, Boss screws workers, Apple gets ENORMOUS markup ...

However I sometimes I am confused to the slave army you refer, the ones making them, or the ones walking around with a Iphony glued to their ear ?

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Coat

Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

Did your blindness stop you reading that this shit company supplies an awful lot of other Tech makers?

So No Apple for you.

How about not using the internet in case your bits travel through a bit of Cisco kit?

Don't pile all the agony on Apple. At least they have a public policy and do seem to react when things like this are brought to their attention. What about the other companies who use this supplier? Why don't you target hour hatred at them. After all, if more of the companies who use Flextronics start to complain and threaten to take their business elsewhere, the more chance there is of Flextrinics cleaning up their act.

I know what I have said is not the norm for El Reg 'Daily Flail' standard of debate but sometimes you just have to think a little before ranting off.

Coat? Mines the one with a downvote target on the back

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Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

@ Steve Davies 3

Sorry but this a forum, place to exchange ideas, thoughts, I did, you dont have to agree, type something that changes my mind, not more of same apple crap I've been hearing for years ...

"OK, so what can *we* do?" , was title, I just mentioned what I did, I didn't say anybody else had to do same thing, and yes it is rampant in industry, All I did is mention that it's been going on for a while ...

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a53

Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

Congrats, my 1st thought on seeing the headline was "oh no, what have Apple been up to now ?". Then I read the whole article and discovered:

Only Apple get castigated in the headline, but lots of different major companies who use this supplier don't.

Only Apple, the article says, are doing anything about the situation.

So, all in all, just another piece contriving to stir up hate.

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Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

So Apple had complains about "slavery" in the past? And they still have not done anything about that? I bet they have promised that they will do something about that before, as they did now.

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Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

About capitalism, greedy bosses will pay people $1 to polish turds, then sell for big bucks in a bag, as real expensive coffee, Shoes/clothing have been been big source of this type of trade, So we do we start ?

Nobody wants to do anything really cause they all want their chance of making it big, and its a lottery, where somebody always looses ...

I seem to remember politicians tellings us, how cheap Phones/elec/water etc was gunna be after privitised, I haven't seen it, Bills keep getting bigger, not less, still nobody in streets about that .....

I feel, nothing to do with PC's, This all is about humans, People don't really care, just want it to work, so these evils continue ....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK, so what can *we* do?

Hate? A bit strong I think. Strongly dislike, maybe, but I fear yet another word has been co-opted to mean something different to it's real meaning.

Try reading a dictionary occasionally instead of trying to be down wid da hood with your street talk.

Or whatever!

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YAWN!

Let's face it, we don't really care do we. These stories always periodically surface, we all get a chance to post our comments of righteous indignation, various companies roll out their prepared mea culpas and then we all run out to by the next version of the shiny shiny they make.

Wake me when something changes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: YAWN!

I don't know... if we could at least get a "No Dhongs were injured or forcefully removed while making this product" QA sticker on the back, I would start singing "We are the world".

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Bronze badge

Re: YAWN!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is not Apple's fault. I'm no fan of theirs, and I certainly don't own any of their overpriced kit. I don't like their ethos as a company, how they treat their customers, how they do business, and I am underwhelmed by their products. BUT, in the interest of fairness, it's only right that I also comment when they do something right. I do applaud their ethical response to these claims, which happen quite often. They take action, and do more than most to impose restrictions on their suppliers. True, it's probably only because they are in the limelight more than anyone else, but any improvements to terrible conditions are welcome, no matter how they come about.

Apple certainly doesn't deserve to be lambasted for using a supplier which is governed by a third world government, and is also used by every other big tech hardware maker. Sensationalist much, Rik...?

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Unhappy

bravo apple

Apple should be shut down as being one of the worst companies in the world, their record for this sort of thing just keeps happening again and again. I do not own an apple device for this very reason" DO YOU"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bravo apple

Err.. did you read that part about "which supplies components for Apple, Cisco, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft, among others"?

Never mind. Bashing Apple is cool.

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Silver badge
Facepalm

Shameful apple

A company that boxes and sells very average microchips at such extreme profits and that pays little to no corporate taxes due to running it's money through Irish bank accounts should at least show a thimble-full of social responsibility towards its factory assemblers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bravo apple

Err, did you read the point in the article where the production line in question - the hirings, the firing, the recruitments - and the company voluntarily claiming responsibility for oversight of all these issues is attributed to "APPLE"?!

Never mind. Apparently your reading comprehension quotient is so low that arguing is a moot point.

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Silver badge

Re: bravo apple

Err - did you read what I said about absurd prices for boxes with average chips?

And don't say "err" or "umm". It makes you sound like an idiot. And get a login, you coward.

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Silver badge

Re: Shameful apple

It's good to be indignant about bad developing nation supplier chain employment practice. It's not good to give inaccurate and misleading information that obscures the reality of the situation and obscures the reality of what is being done by which companies and when (and in turn obscures who should be supported and who should be criticised)

If you actually read Apple's supplier responsibility reports you would realise they are making a huge effort to ensure suppliers are acting responsibly. Their effort leads the industry by some distance and indeed other companies, which have not been hit by the "irresponsible suppliers" meme (but should be - such as Samsung) are doing little but ride on Apple's coat tails on this one. Indeed if users applied the same standard of audit they expect of companies like Apple, they would quickly realise that based on real action, if they are to purchase a mobile device, the responsible choice is now to buy either Apple or a Freedom phone or a phone not assembled in a developing nation (though employment practices by parts suppliers still remains a problem), or, most responsible of all, buy nothing at all.

Your point about not paying corporate taxes is also misleading. When dealing with International business, there are always choices to be made and no sane business will make legal choices which increase the tax burden. If you have an inheritance due from an Auntie Pru who has just died in some country, you become executor of her estate and due to her living arrangements you have a perfectly legal choice as to which overseas country/jurisdiction death duty should be paid, you would not choose to pay the duty in the country with the higher rate out of a sense of responsibility to one country as over another. Businesses face such choices on tax and where they base their operations all the time. Ireland provide a low tax regime precisely so they would get businesses like Apple to locate there (they don't as you inaccurately state, just have bank accounts there).

Given international business necessarily involves these quite legal choices, the real yardstick for unethical behaviour is if a company uses or creates financial instruments that exist solely for the purpose of reducing or eliminating tax. Examples are loans that serve no sensible funding purpose and exist solely to defer costs and reduce tax, or as you so inaccurately implied of Apple, bank accounts in jurisdictions where no business is conducted, purely because loopholes allow the reclassification of some form of income channelled through the bank accounts in question, that reduces tax.

Tim Cook is on public record stating Apple run no such instruments.

BTW, if you want to know the name of a tech company who do run such instruments, extensively, look no further than Google.

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Re: bravo apple

Have you read Apples PDF about the tax required for hiring new personal?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shameful apple

They do, you utter halfwit. They are the only business that has visibly tried to anything at all. Where the fucj are Samsung or LG etc? Go on. Show me. It's the assholes like you that continue to give their money to the real crooks like Samsung and LG etc.

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Joke

Nepal? Are you sure he wasn't from Yorkshire?

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Anonymous Coward

Ah - Apple again

Does Apple give a flying f*ck about what you think , when the question is of lining their pockets?

Thought not.

And you guys still buy their stuff. How about taking a stand for once and hit them where it hurts instead of self righteously posturing here ? Or perhaps start an online campaign against such practices. Someone will notice.

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Silver badge

And never forget

that having an iPhone built in the high wage west (thats Europe/North America) would result in the iPhone costing $40 more (or knocking $40 off apple's profit margin)

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Re: And never forget

Only if the assembly line were fully automated.

And the factory kept away from unions.

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Bronze badge

Re: And never forget

@DAM you forgot the most expensive cost increasing units, PHBs and process droids. Unions have ceased to be relevant to most workers outside a few blue collar industries.

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Re: And never forget

So you say that slavery it's right as long as you pay 40$ less (or Apple earns 40$ more) on a iPhone? Are you iTard?

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Anonymous Coward

shh, quiet, some one might be listening

and want to import those employment practices for cost effectiveness/competition. No names, I can't afford it and truth is not a defence here.

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Great Company

I work for Cisco and previously worked for Flextronics. Flex is a brilliant company to work for, I cannot believe any of this rubbish reported here in this article.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great Company

Did you work for Flextroincs at their Bukit Raja plant? If not, apples to oranges.

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Re: Great Company

Dude, you nick name is UK Engineer, not Nepalese Lader. You liar.

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So what can be done?

Aside from the "HA!!! Your fave brand of shiney beads was mentioned.... YOU'RE AS GUILTY AS HITLER" shoutybollocks, what can actually be done?

That's not a rhetorical question. What can we actually do to ensure that our gadgety goodness is as ethical as possible? I know that food has its fair trade certifications and clothing firms make a big deal of whatever ethical sourcing they go through, so is there a recognised ethical electronics mark? I suspect that no company is a saint and somewhere along the line exploitation occurs, but being able to buy products that damage the fewest folk would be nice.

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Bronze badge

Let your money do the talking.

Lottie, what could actually be done is to not purchase any new device from any firm which does not meet your personal standard of ethics. If you cannot determine where a given firm stands relative to your standard, then you’ll have to make a decision on whether to treat that firm as “innocent unless proven guilty” or “guilty until proven innocent”.

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