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Apple partner Foxconn boosts 'entertainment' time to curb suicides

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
Apple's overseas manufacturing partner has instituted a new strategy that intends to prevent employee suicides by offering more "entertainment" time and cutting overtime work hours.

The Wall Street Journal on Friday described an event held at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, this week in which tens of thousands of employees wore costumes, sang, danced and paraded. The theme for the event was "treasure your life, love your family and care for each other."

An employee said that the change in focus has helped to boost morale, as employees are less stressed and receive more time off from work. A company spokesman said that Hon Hai Precision was "blinded" by its success, and didn't cater to the emotional needs of its young workforce, of which 75 percent is between the ages of 18 and 24. Foxconn is the registered trade name of Hon Hai.

"Unlike the previous generation of workers that regarded work and basic necessities as top priorities in life, post 80s workers don't just work for money," said Louis Woo, special assistant to Hon Hai's chairman. "The new generation of workers is changing China and Hon Hai is changing to meet this new reality."

The company assembles some of Apple's most popular products, including the iPhone and iPad. Its massive factory in Shenzhen holds nearly a half-million workers.

Earlier this year, a number of Hon Hai employees committed suicide -- some in a very public fashion, by jumping off of the factory. The company responded by installing safety nets around the facility.




Hon Hai revealed in May that it planned to give a 20 percent pay raise to its employees. Entry-level workers at the company's factory in Longhua reportedly earn just over 900 yuan, or $131.80 U.S. per month before overtime and bonuses.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs spoke on the Foxconn issue in June at the All Things D Conference. He said that his company was "on top of" the matter, and that Foxconn "is not a sweatshop."

"It's a factory, but my gosh, they have restaurants and movie theaters, but it's a factory," Jobs said. "But they've had some suicides and attempted suicides, and they have 400,000 people there, The rate is under what the U.S. rate is, but it's still troubling."
post #2 of 79
Steve Jobs defends using this sweatshop to line his pockets. He should be ashamed. How would he like to work there? Why doesn't Apple just admit they use this place because it's cheap and it's how business is done in America.
post #3 of 79
Who are they kidding? It is a sweat shop! It is a shame that an innovative company like Apple does not want to make the effort to automate the assembly process so that their products do not have to be made by slave labor. In the end, automated production has always been cheaper than slave labor... as most industries learnt after the Civil War.

Another issue are the tax laws. China only taxes 20% (or less) for corporate tax. The US corporate tax is 40% at least. Apple has shield about 50% of its cash flow via transfer pricing... WTO helps too. The average person has to pay much higher taxes. About time they fixed this issue and brought jobs home.

The government should actually encourage domestic manufacturing via tax laws and tariffs. Dump WTO and NAFTA.
post #4 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

Steve Jobs defends using this sweatshop to line his pockets. He should be ashamed. How would he like to work there? Why doesn't Apple just admit they use this place because it's cheap and it's how business is done in America.

Check the rest of your shopping. Try to find a product you bought that isn't made in China ... how much do you know about the working conditions of the people that made all the other products? Having said that, I would love Apple to manufacture at home for sure ... maybe one day.
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post #5 of 79
China and south east Asia has become our factory. Example: John West tuna, well known in the UK, is not made in the UK or for that matter anywhere in Europe. The fish is sent to Vietnam to be cooked and canned there! Then sent back to the UK.

I do not think there is anything wrong with that?
post #6 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's overseas manufacturing partner has instituted a new strategy that intends to prevent employee suicides by offering more "entertainment" time and cutting overtime work hours.

Perhaps we should do it here to reduce the high rate of suicide (which is higher per capita than Apple's overseas manufacturers) amongst our university students.
post #7 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

It is a shame that an innovative company like Apple does not want to make the effort to automate the assembly process so that their products do not have to be made by slave labor. In the end, automated production has always been cheaper than slave labor... as most industries learnt after the Civil War.

I think you should complain to companies like Siemens, Alstom and ABB for not coming up with better machines or manufacturing line designs.


But you are right....imagine Apple involved in manufacturing line design! The world would be different
post #8 of 79
I know how this entertainment might look like in communist country. I lived in one for decades. So what kind of propaganda movie will they show those workers? Or perhaps they will show military choir or orchestra at the local opera?

Just pay them what's owed and do not make human being robots.



"So how come you are working 12 hours a day now?"
"Well I told my boss at work that I need some time at home with my family to sort things out and he told me that I can work half days for some time."
post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Check the rest of your shopping. Try to find a product you bought that isn't made in China ... how much do you know about the working conditions of the people that made all the other products? Having said that, I would love Apple to manufacture at home for sure ... maybe one day.

Re: Other products made in China

I did reference that in the last sentence of my post. We are in agreement on this issue.
post #10 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Unlike the previous generation of workers that regarded work and basic necessities as top priorities in life, post 80s workers don't just work for money," said Louis Woo, special assistant to Hon Hai's chairman. "The new generation of workers is changing China and Hon Hai is changing to meet this new reality."

This is the best part. Act like it's the employees that are weak. Sounds like my parents. "Your generation doesn't know what work is. Why in MY day, I walked uphill in the blinding snow to pump gas after school every day."

I guess global warming is real. Apparently the earth of the past was a much colder place.
post #11 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

I know how this entertainment might look like in communist country. I lived in one for decades. So what kind of propaganda movie will they show those workers? Or perhaps they will show military choir or orchestra at the local opera?

Current Chinese TV shows and movies are nothing like communist era stuff. For that you need to go to North Korea which is like a timewarp into the 50s.
post #12 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

I know how this entertainment might look like in communist country. I lived in one for decades. So what kind of propaganda movie will they show those workers? Or perhaps they will show military choir or orchestra at the local opera?"

I am no expert, but I believe the only thing that makes them communist these days is the one party system. In reality they are closer to a socialist system. Anyone saying otherwise is just spouting hate that they picked up somewhere. For all of those people complaining about jobs in China, that is where the industry is for some of these services. If you want to open a factory here, figure out how to make these things, and get people to work at them then great, but the easier solution is just to make sure our products are manufactured according to our moral code. It is not trivial to move manufacturing capability to the United States when there is no infrastructure for some of these services. I'm sure this also works in reverse and there are many industries we have that China cannot compete with. They may even be complaining about having to buy those overpriced American products. It is usually better business sense to go after new industries then try to compete in existing aggressive markets. The only way that could work is if you can guarantee a superior product like how Apple got in the phone market.
post #13 of 79
Haha, older generations put work as top priority, but post 1980's want to work for something else?

Reminds me of what my consumer behavior teach was telling me last year at uni. The problem is that in china that change has not happened, and in fact the change is being reversed in the US by the recession. Today people are taking whatever jobs they can get, work longer with no overtime just to keep a job and "put food on their family".

Plus think back to high school years. No one freakin stayed for the pep ralley. After 14 hours of cranking out the iPods a pro-life parade is more of a burden then a joyful event.
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post #14 of 79
I think we're all forgetting, this place has swimming pools remember? It's a pretty nice place.
post #15 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

Who are they kidding? It is a sweat shop! It is a shame that an innovative company like Apple does not want to make the effort to automate the assembly process so that their products do not have to be made by slave labor. In the end, automated production has always been cheaper than slave labor... as most industries learnt after the Civil War.

Another issue are the tax laws. China only taxes 20% (or less) for corporate tax. The US corporate tax is 40% at least. Apple has shield about 50% of its cash flow via transfer pricing... WTO helps too. The average person has to pay much higher taxes. About time they fixed this issue and brought jobs home.

The government should actually encourage domestic manufacturing via tax laws and tariffs. Dump WTO and NAFTA.

Yeah right!!! Lets use Robots and manufacturing lines, and fire all these employees who need money to get food clothes and god knows what. You know AjitMD before making such bold statements you should compare the working conditions in other places in china. I can tell you Foxconn is comparatively all right. The problem there is to 95% that the employees are isolated from their social groups where they used to live.
This said, I have certainly the opinion, that Foxconn ought to do even more for their employees. But they made a start and thats to be acknowledged.
post #16 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Haha, older generations put work as top priority, but post 1980's want to work for something else?

Reminds me of what my consumer behavior teach was telling me last year at uni. The problem is that in china that change has not happened, and in fact the change is being reversed in the US by the recession. Today people are taking whatever jobs they can get, work longer with no overtime just to keep a job and "put food on their family".

Plus think back to high school years. No one freakin stayed for the pep ralley. After 14 hours of cranking out the iPods a pro-life parade is more of a burden then a joyful event.

Yeah, thought the pro-life pep rally comment was strange. Maybe it lost something in translation and was a fun event.
post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Haha, older generations put work as top priority, but post 1980's want to work for something else?

A result of the one-child policy. Only one kid and you spoil em like crazy. Or two sets of grandparents do. We do the same thing here with our trophy kids but to a great extent I feel it's just the usual old people grousing about how the kids don't want to work anymore.

Every generation thinks the following generation is a bunch of slackers. They're wrong but they sure like to think that.
post #18 of 79
It is fascinating to read the ignorant rants being posted here. Americans, of which I am one, are by and large truly ignorant about what goes on in the rest of the world (which I am not), and even ignorant about what is going on in the US. I can remember my summer job when I was in college where I was working on a Ford assembly line and it was mandatory overtime - we worked 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. I had two days off the entire summer! And that was in a union shop! But now I guess everyone thinks that would be slave labor. (The reality is thousands of people would be lined up to apply for a job like that in the US today.) These Chinese factories referred to in these articles are far from being sweatshops. These are modern factories. Housing and meals are provided, athletic facilities, etc etc. The reality is that the suicide rate is actually LOWER than in the US, by far. And the conditions are better than my summer jobs working at the auto plant and two summers working the ovens at the steel mills in Cleveland.

And then we have the tool that talks about entertainment being government propaganda and all his other dribble. No, they are lined up at 5 a.m. to get tickets to the constantly sold out showings of Avatar at the local iMax theater. My wife, our newborn baby and I are currently living in China and I have been coming here for the last 11 years (my wife is Chinese) and I can tell you that you are all clueless as to what it's really like here. China has modernized like no other country in history. Factories are making conditions better all the time as expectations and worker demands are higher, and wages are increasing as are living conditions. So please, it would be better to keep your fingers off the keyboard when you truly don't know what you are talking about.
post #19 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

Yeah, thought the pro-life pep rally comment was strange. Maybe it lost something in translation and was a fun event.

Pro life as in don't commit a suicide, not don't kill babies. I think that is what the chinese called it when I watched this on the news.
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post #20 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

. Every generation thinks the following generation is a bunch of slackers. They're wrong but they sure like to think that.

So true. In MY day, we only had one TV set. And one phone in the kitchen. These young kids today with their long hair and their drugs and their open sex any time of the day and night for no reason.

Oops, that's the seventies. I'll update it. These kids today with their iPods and their texting any time of the day and night for no reason.

No one minds the sex part anymore.
post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

blah blah 'mericans are ignorant deleted

M'kay...lighten up Francis. I'm sure when you were in college you had to walk to the auto plant up hill both ways and surely nobody currently living in the US works long hours anymore.

Living in a major chinese city as an expat is one thing. Living dirt poor in the countryside is different. Parts of China have modernized significantly. Others have not. It's still a communist country and the Chinese are pragmatic.

Keep your head down, make money, live well while you can. Emperors are fickle.
post #22 of 79
Thank you FreeRange, what you wrote needed to be said.
post #23 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

It is a shame that an innovative company like Apple does not want to make the effort to automate the assembly process so that their products do not have to be made by slave labor.

I don't think that's realistic for a while yet. Putting components in computers is a fiddly job, robots are not dexterous enough.

In general I am in favor of offshoring work overseas, it frees up labor for new endeavours. Without it, everyone would be tied up forever making the "current" things, with no one available for hire by entrepreneurs who want to try new things.

Some of these foreign nations think they are waging economic war - taking the foreign devil's jobs, muhahahha, etc. But in reality they are enabling us to move forward. They don't understand that the main problem in the developed world is not employing everyone, it is finding enough people for all the ideas we want to explore.

The current unemployment in the US is an historical exception.
post #24 of 79
This factory is roughly the population of Kansas city.
I wonder what the suicide rate is in this American city and should we boycott them?
post #25 of 79
The suicide rate at foxconn is lower than the average in the US and china. What's the problem then? It's 13 in 400,000
post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

It is fascinating to read the ignorant rants being posted here. Americans, of which I am one, are by and large truly ignorant about what goes on in the rest of the world (which I am not), and even ignorant about what is going on in the US. I can remember my summer job when I was in college where I was working on a Ford assembly line and it was mandatory overtime - we worked 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. I had two days off the entire summer! And that was in a union shop! But now I guess everyone thinks that would be slave labor. (The reality is thousands of people would be lined up to apply for a job like that in the US today.) These Chinese factories referred to in these articles are far from being sweatshops. These are modern factories. Housing and meals are provided, athletic facilities, etc etc. The reality is that the suicide rate is actually LOWER than in the US, by far. And the conditions are better than my summer jobs working at the auto plant and two summers working the ovens at the steel mills in Cleveland.

And then we have the tool that talks about entertainment being government propaganda and all his other dribble. No, they are lined up at 5 a.m. to get tickets to the constantly sold out showings of Avatar at the local iMax theater. My wife, our newborn baby and I are currently living in China and I have been coming here for the last 11 years (my wife is Chinese) and I can tell you that you are all clueless as to what it's really like here. China has modernized like no other country in history. Factories are making conditions better all the time as expectations and worker demands are higher, and wages are increasing as are living conditions. So please, it would be better to keep your fingers off the keyboard when you truly don't know what you are talking about.

Hi FreeRange, I am not american (just to have it mentioned) and I truly appreciate your rather insightful comment, although, I would say that you bring it on a little too hard. Of course I have the feeling myself, that many US- citizens don't really understand the concept, if shipping east or west, that they will find other landmasses than america.
post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

The US corporate tax is 40% at least.

Get real. The effective corporate tax rate for profitable US companies is way below that.
post #28 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

It is fascinating to read the ignorant rants being posted here. Americans, of which I am one, are by and large truly ignorant about what goes on in the rest of the world (which I am not), and even ignorant about what is going on in the US. I can remember my summer job when I was in college where I was working on a Ford assembly line and it was mandatory overtime - we worked 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. I had two days off the entire summer! And that was in a union shop! But now I guess everyone thinks that would be slave labor. (The reality is thousands of people would be lined up to apply for a job like that in the US today.) These Chinese factories referred to in these articles are far from being sweatshops. These are modern factories. Housing and meals are provided, athletic facilities, etc etc. The reality is that the suicide rate is actually LOWER than in the US, by far. And the conditions are better than my summer jobs working at the auto plant and two summers working the ovens at the steel mills in Cleveland.

And then we have the tool that talks about entertainment being government propaganda and all his other dribble. No, they are lined up at 5 a.m. to get tickets to the constantly sold out showings of Avatar at the local iMax theater. My wife, our newborn baby and I are currently living in China and I have been coming here for the last 11 years (my wife is Chinese) and I can tell you that you are all clueless as to what it's really like here. China has modernized like no other country in history. Factories are making conditions better all the time as expectations and worker demands are higher, and wages are increasing as are living conditions. So please, it would be better to keep your fingers off the keyboard when you truly don't know what you are talking about.

Watch it. You're making way too much sense for some of the folks here.
post #29 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Living in a major chinese city as an expat is one thing. Living dirt poor in the countryside is different. Parts of China have modernized significantly. Others have not.

Have you traveled to the Appalachians? To the inner cities in a large US city? Heck, Detroit?
post #30 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post

The suicide rate at foxconn is lower than the average in the US and china. What's the problem then? It's 13 in 400,000

Exactly. But facts are pointless with much of our media today (and lazy commenters).
post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

Steve Jobs defends using this sweatshop to line his pockets. He should be ashamed. How would he like to work there? Why doesn't Apple just admit they use this place because it's cheap and it's how business is done in America.

Why doesn't Dell, HP, Nokia and Sony just admit they use this place because it's cheap and it's how business is done?
post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Why doesn't Dell, HP, Nokia and Sony just admit they use this place because it's cheap and it's how business is done?

Because it looks bad. We want to be guilt free whilst we merrily stroll down the street texting.
post #33 of 79
By "entertainment time" they mean assembling iPods rather than iPhones...
post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

M'kay...lighten up Francis. I'm sure when you were in college you had to walk to the auto plant up hill both ways and surely nobody currently living in the US works long hours anymore.

Living in a major chinese city as an expat is one thing. Living dirt poor in the countryside is different. Parts of China have modernized significantly. Others have not. It's still a communist country and the Chinese are pragmatic.

True. It's like somebody judging the US just by living in NYC. You can't generalize about the rural south using just that experience.

He should have paid more attention in college and spent less time on the assembly line. too. It's "drivel," not "dribble."
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

True. It's like somebody judging the US just by living in NYC. You can't generalize about the rural south using just that experience.

Aren't the commenters here making the same errors in judgment?
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post #36 of 79
So it seems this company manages their entire lives, rather than just giving them a set number of hours to work and letting them go out and do their own thing on their time off.

Why is this? Is there a lack of a city/town with stuff to do and social activities around these companies? Or is that just the way Chinese culture works, where your company manages your entire life rather than just your time at work?
post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

Aren't the commenters here making the same errors in judgment?

Does it matter? Two wrongs don't make a right.
post #38 of 79
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post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

"put food on their family".

Put food on their family? I know times are hard but no need to take it out on the family
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post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

It is fascinating to read the ignorant rants being posted here. Americans, of which I am one, are by and large truly ignorant about what goes on in the rest of the world (which I am not), and even ignorant about what is going on in the US. I can remember my summer job when I was in college where I was working on a Ford assembly line and it was mandatory overtime - we worked 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. I had two days off the entire summer! And that was in a union shop! But now I guess everyone thinks that would be slave labor. (The reality is thousands of people would be lined up to apply for a job like that in the US today.) These Chinese factories referred to in these articles are far from being sweatshops. These are modern factories. Housing and meals are provided, athletic facilities, etc etc. The reality is that the suicide rate is actually LOWER than in the US, by far. And the conditions are better than my summer jobs working at the auto plant and two summers working the ovens at the steel mills in Cleveland.

And then we have the tool that talks about entertainment being government propaganda and all his other dribble. No, they are lined up at 5 a.m. to get tickets to the constantly sold out showings of Avatar at the local iMax theater. My wife, our newborn baby and I are currently living in China and I have been coming here for the last 11 years (my wife is Chinese) and I can tell you that you are all clueless as to what it's really like here. China has modernized like no other country in history. Factories are making conditions better all the time as expectations and worker demands are higher, and wages are increasing as are living conditions. So please, it would be better to keep your fingers off the keyboard when you truly don't know what you are talking about.

Good post. AI is better when people bring new perspectives like this rather than having never visited or really taken the time to understand other places. It seems easier for people to just hit the keyboard but it's no substitute to being there.

Just look at the annual wages rises in China and it's incredible how positive this must be for people's lives there, supporting urbanization and other changes and yet things like that are almost never reported in the main news channels.
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