Dollar-a-day report prompts Apple retort

Jonathan Stewart and David Price
7 February, 2012
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Apple “cares about every worker” in its worldwide supply chain, the company has said in response to a CNN video documenting an iPad assembly worker’s life at Apple’s Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China.

“We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made,” Apple said. “Our suppliers must live up to these requirements if they want to keep doing business with Apple.”

CNN journalist Stan Grant’s video is another glimpse in the on-going media inquiry into Foxconn factories across China, a distributor that provides electronic components to the world’s biggest technology companies such as Acer, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony.

One of a million workers at Apple’s Foxconn factory – a manufacturer of iPads, iPods and iPods – ‘Miss Chen’, an alias, is a poor migrant worker from rural China working for US$1 an hour, 60 hours a week.

She said she used the alias because of a Foxconn ban on talking to the media: “If we accept interviews, we will be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law.”

The CNN report comes after a series of suicides at Foxconn facilities in 2010, an explosion at Apple’s Chengdu factory in 2011 that killed two employees and a recent mass employee protest at a Microsoft Foxconn factory.

Apple CEO Tim Cook headed to China a year ago to oversee the installation of better working conditions, and the publicised ‘suicide nets’, but workers are still unsatisfied.

Miss Chen, an 18-year-old Chongqing university student, described the workers treatment akin to “animals” stating that “they use women as men, and they use men as machines”.

Chen will return to her studies after her one-month employment is completed.

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