Was There Any Strike in Foxconn ?
Mushfiqur | On 07, Oct 2012
Apple’s iPhone 5 is now currently sold out and is waiting for the next supply in order to quench the high excessive demand of the consumers. The pre-orders of the iPhone 5 exceeded 2 million units in the first 24 hours which is actually the double of last year’s 4S. This means that those who ‘pre-ordered’ the phone will not be getting it until mid-October. However, things don’t seem to go right in the factory where the iPhones are manufactured.
Around 3000-4000 workers went on strike on October 5th in Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory which is one of the manufacturers of Apple employing thousands of workers to make the phone that we, Apple lovers use, the iPhone. According the China Labor Watch, the main reason of the strike was the ‘strict demands’ by the management for the production of the new iPhone 5 one of which was not to have the back and front covers scratched as they had received lot of complaints from the users. Moreover, the workers were told to not have any irregular cutting of more than .02 mm. This angered the workers as they were not trained to do such work and added a great pressure on them.
This resulted in a clash between the inspectors and the workers which left some injured and hospitalised. As a result of this, the production came to a halt which in turn put a pressure on the supply of the iPhone making Apple go nuts.
It seems, the excess demand of the phones created a huge tension on how to provide these at the right time and of course the complaints that were received from the users regarding scratch marks on the iPhone forced the company to impose strict demands on the workers.
Also, workers even had to work on their National Holiday which is celebrated from Oct 1st – Oct 8th to meet the production demand of the iPhone 5. According to Foxconn, those who worked on the National Day did so voluntarily and was in no way forced to do so. As a reward, they have been paid three times their usual wage.
So did Foxconn acknowledge that such event had occurred ? No. Although they did accept a ‘small’ clash happening before Oct 5th in Zhengzhou but any reports of a strike was denied. Those clashes were taken care of immediately and the issues were addressed. They even assured that there was no strike in any Foxconn facility and the production of the iPhone was on schedule. According to Foxconn, they take the matters of their workers seriously so that they can work in a safe, healthy environment and receive great compensation and benefits.
So who do we believe ? China Labor Watch or Foxconn ? Foxconn did mention about a clash that had occurred whereas the China Labor Watch posted an update on their website saying,
On October 5th, workers from the OQC (onsite quality control) line went to the factory and then left due to the conflicts. Foxcom denied that these workers strike. However, according to the workers, they went on strike instead of not volunteering to work overtime.
It just amazes me to see how viral this topic is going over the net. Yes, consumers will be complaining about the products on how its made but little do we ever think in the first place how the whole phone came into being with so many workers working day and night, forgetting holidays, just to get a wage so that they can feed their family. If Foxconn does not provide the right working conditions to the workers there, I fear more strikes coming. Not only will it halt the iPhone production but also affect other companies such as Dell and HP. Just a month back, there was another small clash where 2000 workers broke out forcing the factory to shut down and open again the day after.
What are your views regarding this topic ?