Skip to main content

“Humiliating”, “military style” Foxconn working conditions slammed again

A watchdog group released a study this week that criticises Foxconn for limited freedoms, inhumane treatment and unsafe working conditions, among other things.

Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) visited Foxconn production sites in Zhengzhou and Shenzhen, China - where various Apple products are produced - between March and May 2012 and found that labour rights violations "remain the norm."

SACOM was not comforted by an Apple-commissioned report from the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which also found abuses at Foxconn facilities, but said that the firm had agreed to make changes.

Foxconn workers do not have access to the FLA report, SACOM said, and promised cutbacks to overtime will reduce wages. Still, the group also complained about excessive overtime for iPad workers, which caused many to miss Chinese New Year celebrations.

SACOM also said that workers are forced to sign up for a company-controlled union without knowing what that entails. They must also endure "humiliating" disciplinary action like the writing and reading of confession letters and manual labour like toilet cleaning.

Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is not the first time SACOM has criticized Foxconn. In May 2011, the group released a report that said most Foxconn employees were working long hours for little pay, battling exposure to dust and harmful chemicals, and undergoing "military style" training sessions.

Working conditions at Foxconn have received a lot of press lately, prompting the Apple-sponsored FLA inspections. ABC's Nightline also gained access to a Foxconn factory recently, which did not uncover any particularly shocking conditions, while This American Life was forced to retract a controversial episode about Apple factories in China that featured storyteller Mike Daisey.