to see how the Apple fans spin this.
I have been surprised..
Apple faces increased pressure today after its manufacturing partner Foxconn was accused of using forced student labour and hiding underage workers during high-profile independent inspections last week. Foxconn also makes components for other manufacturers, but Apple is its most prominent customer. The Register spoke to Debby …
Your Paris icon is appropriate, because your statement leaves me wondering about what Apple alone has to do with these allegations?
"local governments in China "repay" Foxconn’s decision to locate in their area by shipping off vocational students to work in the factories"
Can Apple alone override the local governments of China? Seems like a very tall order. But appears to me that Apple is already doing more about this than the rest of the industry.
Apple isn't going to change the legal system in China. But it does have the obligation to do ethical trading. And that includes not dealing with companies (eg Foxcon) who are proving themselves to be unethical.
Same for any other company who use Foxcon for their manufacturing needs.
"obligation to do ethical trading"
I hate Apple and their mediocre, over-hyped and wildly over priced products as much as the next guy, but this really isn't their battle.
China is an awful place to work; shit conditions and shit pay are the accepted country-wide standard. Foxconn happen to be slightly less shit, partly due to negative press and slight pressure from Apple. And the huge amounts of cash they rake in. The people who work there aren't 'slaves' or any worse off than anyone else working in the area, in fact Foxconn are seen as better employers than many others.
It is for the Chinese government and manufacturing industry to legislate working conditions and minimum age and pay requirements, not Western customers of Chinese manufacturers.
I'm not sure I understand the subtle distinction you seem to be trying to make vis a vie Forced Labor and Slavery.
Perchance do your grandparents hail from Georgia? And do you still harbor ill feelings toward those damn Yankees because of the War of Northern Aggression?
Indeed, but like I said Apple alone isn't going to change this without a coordinated effort from all other companies that use Foxconn. If Apple just dropped Foxconn, another company would pick up from there and nothing would change.
The real question however is where could Apple - and HP, Dell, Microsoft, etc - go as alternatives for their manufacturing, when Foxconn clearly has such as stronghold position, it's monopoly being - as it appears - supported by the Chinese government?
If all companies acted with the same ethics, it shouldn't be a problem. Everyone drops Foxconn out of concern for their end users.
There are plenty of companies who will not deal with unethical companies and pride themselves when doing so.
In my company, if we had opportunity of a nice big juicey profit on a project but the company is an iffy one, we are supposed to walk away even though someone less ethical would take it.
"coordinated effort from all other companies that use Foxconn"
Since when has this really worked...
The solution is obvious and simple - as in any civilised country - the Chinese government could enforce their laws, making the rules fair for everyone an competition healthy in the first place.
"The real question however is where could Apple - and HP, Dell, Microsoft, etc - go as alternatives for their manufacturing, when Foxconn clearly has such as stronghold position, it's monopoly being - as it appears - supported by the Chinese government?"
How about in countries where workers have rights? China is chosen because they have a HUGE supply of cheap manual labor. Other countries can keep labor cost down by using labor and robotics. If other companies left China stating that the main reason they do so is because of their lack of worker's rights protections then China may actually be forced to crack down on illegal employment practices. However until the Chinese people rise up and force the government to give them the rights they should get the abuses will continue.
'If Apple just dropped Foxconn, another company would pick up from there'
If we didn't do it someone else would is a shit excuse for doing a bad thing. If it was acceptable you might see it used in courts e.g.
JUDGE: Why did you mug that little old lady
CRIMINAL: Well your honour, if I didn't do it some else would
See? It doesn't really work.
Exactly right. Doesn't matter if its the old lady getting mugged or the company using under-age workers it all boils down to the same thing. By being a part of it, you are condoning it.
Same could be said about the consumers who buy the products, but most won't have a clue about it. Some of them probably struggle over the idea of fair trade coffee.
Ok, maybe Apple, HP, etc can't just drop Foxconn overnight. It will take time to get other suppliers on line. But if they start making the move today, they will have it in place eventually. They will also not be reliant on one supplier who could hold them to ransom or may suffer a failure of their own preventing shipment of their product. Never been a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket.
..........of government policy in the UK this has. After all the British government's policy on "work for free" or no social help is in practice "shipping the unemployed" to work as "free labour" for employers in the UK or starve (in practice). Being forced to work a full working week for the pittance you get on the dole does have certain resemblances to the situation at Foxconn, hmm? Not that I am excusing for one split second the way Foxconn is treating its employees or the "help" that the company is getting from some Chinese authorities but the attitude of the government here towards the unemployed is in certain ways not so very different.
As someone who many years ago was unemployed for a few months I enrolled on an adult employment scheme. For £5 a week extra I worked full time. This was for six months. At the end there was no job available but I requested that the scheme be extended. It was. I was so grateful for the opportunity and the scheme gave me experience and something else, pride and self respect. In the end I also got a full time job doing something I loved.
Now back to your point. Fair days wage for a fair days work? Sweet, so what about all that time we are paying them to sit on their asses and watch Jeremy Kyle? Where is the work output for that week? Well? Got an answer that you haven't copy/pasted from Socialist Worker? And why do you only include the amount they get as Jobseekers allowance? What about housing benefit? Council tax discount? Free internet access and computers from a couple of years ago? To pay my rent, council tax and other such things I have to work my ass off, why shouldn't they?
.................some kind of follower of "Socialist Worker", ie some kind of ultra-left Trot because of my posting, says a great deal about how right-wing you are rather than how left-wing you imagine me to be. My point was simply that exploitation is exploitation regardless of which government is involved. That you were "grateful" for the "opportunity" to drop your pants, part your cheeks and bend over is a matter that is entirely up to you.
Actually the reality was my career didn't progress quickly because I was unwilling to drop my pants and part my cheeks, 2 promotions lost due to that. But you are correct to bring me up on the Socialist Worker thing, seeing as it is apparent you are not a full-time student that thinks raiding a branch of Tesco instead of attending lectures is activism. As for me being right-wing? Well I guess I must be as I only think it fair that if society gives me assistance when I need it I should do my best to remove that need for assistance.
But I do stand by my point you are more lefty than centre, if you wish to benefit from the society you live in then you must contribute to that society.
"But I do stand by my point you are more lefty than centre, if you wish to benefit from the society you live in then you must contribute to that society."
Actually old chap as a "lefty" I believe profoundly in precisely that, amusing that you as a "righty" believe that you have a monopoly on that attitude, hmm? Indeed as a "lefty" that particular statement pretty much defines my whole attitude to society - funny that eh?
I have to agree.
I'm on the 'Dole' - yet I have a 3-month contract to design a viable Audio/Visual studio - which I have. Network design's next... It's called work experience. (I love it - chance to learn something different from GSM/3G)
Yet, I get an extra €9/day - tax free, in addition to my €450 (after tax) for being unemployed.
The extra money is designed to pay for my monthly bus pass, and lunch.
Now, if the UK Gummint could pay a bit, like 150/month, folks would clamour for this. But, no. Refuse a job, which you can't afford to get to, and forage garbage bins for food.
"While some consumers may be happy to pay more for products from Apple, HP, Dell, Microsoft and others in the knowledge that workers are better compensated, it remains to be seen if price increases will be triggered and, if so, by how much. "
I think Apple has plenty of pull to force companies to follow it. Everyone is chasing them for products and consumers.
I think you could also argue that Apples profit margins are much higher because of their customers (dedications, stupidity <insert your own word>). While other companies announcing a price increase seems like a joke, I would argue that wages affect other companies far more than Apple because of the price differences we pay for the same product.
Just like every other industrial multinational corporation, Apple officials are there to ensure that production of shiny objects is not impeded by unforeseen obstacles and progresses at minimal cost.
Company officials are not visiting to ensure that sub-contractors are working in the most comfortable, plush environment possible, because every additional comfort affects the bottom line and thus reduces margins.
And reducing the margin is a capital offense, in every sense of the word.
If you were using slave labor and under age labor and you knew the world was coming to check out the deplorable treatment of workers in your factory, would you show them all of your illegal and unscrupulous actions or pretend you're Saintly?
As long as Foxconn is allowed to use slave labor and beat employees, then consumers should boycott all companies that Foxconn supplies including but not limited to Microsucks, HP, Apple, Acer and many more.
According to this site: http://www.dsal.gov.mo/law/E138.htm
Specifically Article 3, sections 1-3, anyone over Age 16 is "legal:
1. The minimum age for admission to any type of employment or work which by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out is likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of young persons shall not be less than 18 years.
2. The types of employment or work to which paragraph 1 of this Article applies shall be determined by national laws or regulations or by the competent authority, after consultation with the organizations of employers and workers concerned, where such exist.
3. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article, national laws or regulations or the competent authority may, after consultation with the organizations of employers and workers concerned, where such exist, authorize employment or work as from the age of 16 years on condition that the health, safety and morals of the young persons concerned are fully protected and that the young persons have received adequate specific instruction or vocational training in the relevant branch of activity.
"...Foxconn does not employ, in any capacity, any underage workers."
No, I'm sure they don't - Forced 'intern' students are not employees.
"Foxconn increased wages throughout our operations in China to ensure that we maintained our position as one of the highest paying companies in our industry."
"Highest Paying" does not mean "adequate wages." It merely means 'not quite as cheap as the other slaveshops.'
Apple is one of the pack, in this regard; the only difference beaing that they're hoist on their own sales-pitch petard.
Microsoft and Sony subsidise their hardware made at Foxconn, whilst Apple cream off a at least 30% profit from each unit and as a result have more cash than the US government.
Sony laid off 70,000 workers a whilst back. I would say Apple are in the best position to improve conditions for those kids being forced to work in poor conditions. Apple have made most of their money from trendy kids living and working in privileged conditions.
I can't imagine... a Chinese sweat shop hiding under age children from inspectors. This can't be possible, right? No one would allow children to be exploited, right? No company in China would beat their employees and force them to work in deplorable conditions, right? These claims must be flase, right? No U.S. companies would exploit Chinese laborers for financial gain while exporting U.S. jobs, right?
Perish the thought.
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