A recent documentary by the BBC is making the rounds showing the subhuman conditions in which some Chinese employees are forced to work. It’s no surprise that the system of mass production requires a workforce willing to work more for less, but it’s still crazy to have such a direct view of the events that occur, for example, in iPhone production lines, the most awaited tech product each year in the USA and several other countries around the world.
iPhones are great, and get a lot of exclusive apps & software, plus users love the response, it’s not a coincidence that the demand for them keeps growing every year. Yet covering this demand requires an extra effort by the companies involved in production, trying to cut margins wherever possible. And, as China Labor Watch indicates, the ones suffering in consequence are Chinese workers. For example, the team at Catcher Technology is forced to work in terrible conditions in order to achieve their goals.
Catcher Technology is just the company behind the hard bodies of iPads and Macbooks, amongst other products but they’ve been put in evidence for at least 22 code violations for work laws. After this reveal, the BBC created a documentary exposing a second company, Pegatron from Taiwan, who play a key role in the production chain for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Amongst many issues they found:
- Workers’ documents were taken away without explanation.
- A medical exam done verbally.
- Coercive methods to ensure presence at night shifts.
- Night shifts of over 12 hours.
- Lack of payment for extra hours.
- Lack of days off.
Apparently workers are just falling from exhaustion mid-production, and if they’re not careful enough they might even lose their life as the machines do their thing right next to them.
Apple declared that this reality does not match their reports, and denied to be interviewed about the issue. They remarked to be very concerned for the health of each and every employee on every single point of the chain of production, and that they will continue fighting for the best possible conditions. Apparently, Tim Cook is deeply offended at the suggestion that they might not be taking care of their workforce but as of now there are no concrete measures announced to improve what we see in these images, no matter what Mr. Cook says.
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