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Apple and Foxconn respond to ABC’s iPad factory expose

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Apple and Foxconn have each responded to various claims made in ABC’s Nightline segment that took a look inside two Foxconn factories in an effort to shed light on their working conditions. Responding to a comment made by one worker who claimed she carves aluminum shavings from 6,000 iPad cases each day, Apple said this was likely the result of a miscommunication. “In manufacturing parlance this is called deburring. Her line processes 3,000 units per shift, with two shifts per day for a total of 6,000. A single operator at Ms. Zhou’s station would deburr 3,000 iPads in a shift,” Apple told ABC. Read on for more.

ABC noted in its report that the starting wages at Foxconn’s factories are so low that workers don’t even have to pay income taxes. “We have over 75 percent of the employees in the category of earning at least 2,200 RMB ($349/month) basic compensation standar,” a Foxconn spokesperson told ABC. “That means they are earning 13.75 RMB ($2.18) per hour. If they work overtime on the weekend, they will earn 27 RMB ($4.28) per hour. In order to reach 3500 to be taxable, they will have to work 47 OT hours to reach 3,500.”

The spokesperson continued, “If the overtime hours are in weekdays, they have to work around 63 hours per month to reach that level of salary to be taxable. Your statement is only true when applying to the entry-level workers while over 75 percent are already over the probation and earning more than 2,200 RMB basic salary.”

While nothing startling was uncovered by ABC’s look inside the “iFactory,” a number of concerning reports surrounding facilities maintained by Apple’s supply and manufacturing partners have emerged recently. The Fair Labor Association’s preliminary inspections found “tons of issues” in Foxconn’s factories, one report alleges that Foxconn hid underage workers while ABC filmed in its factories and two workers claiming to have been poisoned by a cleaning agent while working in a plant that assembles iPhone displays on Wednesday pleaded for the public to demand action.

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Fair Labor Association: Foxconn’s plant conditions are better than most

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

On Monday, Apple announced that the Fair Labor Association would be conducting audits of facilities managed by its Chinese suppliers. Foxconn Technology Group, whose factories manufacture the iPad, has come under fire after a rash of worker suicides, fatal explosions and allegations of poor working conditions. Working conditions at Foxconn, however, were found to be far better than other facilities throughout the country, reported Reuters. “The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm,” said FLA president Auret van Heerden. “I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.” Roughly 30 FLA staff members will be visiting two Foxconn factories in southern China and one in the central city of Chengdu. Over the course of three weeks, the FLA will conduct anonymous interviews with 35,000 workers who will be questioned about pay, living conditions, emotional condition and management. In addition to Foxconn, the FLA will investigate facilities belonging to Quanta Computer, Pegatron and Wintek.

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Fair Labor Association to investigate Apple’s suppliers

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Apple on Monday announced that the Fair Labor Association will be conducting audits of its suppliers, and the investigation will include Foxconn’s factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. The inspections, which are being conducted at Apple’s request, are being led by FLA president Auret van Heerdenbegan. “We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.” The FLA team will interview thousands of employees on matters such as living conditions, health, safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The team will also inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other areas of the companies’ various facilities. Apple’s suppliers have apparently offered full cooperation with the FLA, and have granted the group unrestricted access to their operations and facilities. The FLA’s findings and recommendations will be posted on the group’s website in early March. Read on for Apple’s press release.

Fair Labor Association Begins Inspections of Foxconn

CUPERTINO, California—February 13, 2012—Apple® today announced that the Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s request. A team of labor rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden began the first inspections Monday morning at the facility in Shenzhen known as Foxconn City.

“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”

As part of its independent assessment, the FLA will interview thousands of employees about working and living conditions including health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The FLA’s team will inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities, and will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of employment.

Apple’s suppliers have pledged full cooperation with the FLA, offering unrestricted access to their operations. The FLA’s findings and recommendations from the first assessments will be posted in early March on its website, www.fairlabor.org. Similar inspections will be conducted at Quanta and Pegatron facilities later this Spring, and when completed, the FLA’s assessment will cover facilities where more than 90 percent of Apple products are assembled.

Apple has audited every final assembly factory in its supply chain each year since 2006, including more than 40 audits of Foxconn manufacturing and final assembly facilities. Details of Apple’s supplier responsibility program, including the results of more than 500 factory audits led by Apple throughout its supply chain over the past five years, are available at www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

In January, Apple became the first technology company admitted to the Fair Labor Association. The FLA conducts independent monitoring and verification to ensure that the FLA’s Workplace Standards are upheld wherever FLA company products are made.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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Foxconn Hacked, Making Its Passwords Publicly Available [Foxconn]

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Memories of the Future [Past Perfect]

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Sony to post $3.2 billion annual loss

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Sony Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato announced to the press on Monday that the company expects to post an annual loss of $3.2 billion for its fiscal year ending in March 2011 — the second largest loss in company history. The news comes as yet another blow for the Japanese consumer electronics giant, whose online networks have been the target of a series of cyberattacks that impacted more than 100 million customers. Sony had previously expected to post a profit this year, however the company had to write off $4.4 billion for a tax credit from a previous quarter. A series of earthquakes that rocked Japan earlier this year had a negative impact on the company as well, slowing production and destroying factories. The affect of the quakes carried over to the company’s first quarter, Kato told the press, but Sony is still optimistic about 2011/2012. For the fiscal year ending in March 2012, Sony expects to post an operating profit of 200 billion yen, or $2.45 billion at today’s exchange rate.

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Japanese Disaster Results in Biggest Financial Loss for Sony [Blip]

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

A lot of people were affected by March’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but Sony’s the first technology company to claim that it resulted in poor financial numbers for them. They made a $3.2 billion loss over the last financial year—the company’s biggest in 16 years—which they’re blaming on the nine damaged factories that slowed down manufacturing. Obviously the PSN downtime contributed somewhat, too. [NY Times] More »


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Toshiba and Hitachi LCD plants damaged, will shut down for a month

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

You can’t have a 9.0 magnitude earthquake without breaking a few factories, particularly ones that produce fragile liquid crystal screens, and this week Toshiba, Hitachi and Panasonic are each reporting damages that have forced them to close LCD production facilities affected by the tsunami and quake. Panasonic isn’t sure when its plant in Chiba prefecture might resume production, telling Bloomberg that “there has been some damage, though not a fire or a collapse,” but both Hitachi and Toshiba will reportedly halt some assembly lines for around a month to deal with damages. It’s probably still too soon to talk about panel shortages — though that seems likely — but we’ll let you know how things progress.

Toshiba and Hitachi LCD plants damaged, will shut down for a month originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 17 Mar 2011 16:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceNikkei, Reuters, Bloomberg  | Email this | Comments

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Sony, Subaru, and Toyota close factories in wake of earthquake, other companies check in

Friday, March 11th, 2011
Sony, Subaru, and Toyota close factories in wake of earthquake, other companies check in

Our thoughts this morning are with the folks in Japan and the other Pacific areas affected by the massive 8.9 earthquake that struck about 230 miles East of Tokyo. Reports of damage are flooding in from the country, and indeed many familiar manufacturers are checking in. Sony and Toyota have both stopped operations in their factories due to damage. Tragically, one Honda worker lost his life after a wall collapsed, while several Panasonic workers are said to have suffered minor injuries. We’re still watching with concern to see what other impacts the resultant tsunamis could have, but for now we’ll keep hoping for the best.

Sony, Subaru, and Toyota close factories in wake of earthquake, other companies check in originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 11 Mar 2011 09:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceBloomberg  | Email this | Comments

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How Gadgets Are Perpetuating Atrocities In Congo [Manufacturing]

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

A recent spate of suicides at Foxconn factories brought scrutiny to the working conditions in the factories where big-brand gadgets are manufactured. But tracing gadget guts to their mineral sources reveals that Foxconn overtime is far from the ugliest link of the supply chain. More »




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Apple Speaks Out About Foxconn Suicides [Foxconn]

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

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