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All posts tagged "foxconn"


Friday, May 21, 2010

The Cost of Our Shiny Gadgets

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/21/...hts-on-foxconn/

"It's obvious, by now -- or it should be -- that something's going on at Foxconn -- the owners of massive factories in China which most famously assembles Apple products (though it's also responsible for many, many others). There have been several suicide attempts this year -- at least a few of them successful (though it's been pointed out that the number is pretty much on par with the rest of China) -- and over the past few days we've seen what can only be called a shocking expose by a worker who went undercover there."

Engadget's Laura June shares her thoughts on the real cost of the gadgets we know and love - because this Foxconn issue isn't just about Apple; they make products for HP and other big OEMs. I share June's thoughts that I'm not an economist; I know enough about wages to know that they need to be appropriate for the country the workers are in...you can't just take a North American minimum wage figure and use that. On the other hand, I support the concept of a "living wage" no matter what country we're talking about - if someone can't make a reasonable living working 40 hours a week, then they're not getting paid enough (and that applies to my own country as well).

I'd be a hypocrite if I said that the plight of the workers making my gadgets was at the forefront of my mind when I opened the package on a new device, but it's definitely something I've been thinking about more lately. Do I like cheap gadgets? Yes. But would I be willing to pay 10% more, knowing that money would make its way back to the workers in the form of better pay (which would be hard to do, but possible)? Yes, I absolutely would. Would you?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Will Someone Please Think of the Foxconn Workers?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/19/...ing-conditions/

"While the report doesn't comment on the company's management and support networks (or the lack of) for front-line workers, it appears that the real problem lies in Chinese workers' definition of a "good factory" -- one that pays more by means of offering overtime hours. It's clear what's causing this perception -- there's the sub-standard minimum wage in Shenzhen, and then there are the companies abusing this fact to lure workers with overtime hours above the legal limit."

Factory workers in China is a nice, friendly, charged topic. The topic comes up when someone mentions Walmart, lead paint in children's toys, Apple's products, the list goes on. The most recent exposure highlights two issues with me. First, there are the conditions of working in a factory in China, of which I am of mixed feelings. Sure, the amount they are paid sounds like a pittance in Canada, and the hours worked sound dreadful. However, I also recognize the situation that China is in with developing its infrastructure and economy. When I compare the wages workers earn to what a subsistence farm (not just one person, but the whole farm) makes, the hourly wages suddenly seem quite decent. I also suspect that it would be a considerable disruption to the economy if workers were paid wages comparable to here, potentially making other people destitute beyond belief. The more important aspect of the reports coming out of these factories is that there definitely seems to be a pattern of abuse. China does have labour laws, and factories like Foxconn have been shown to violate those laws. I certainly hope that stops, and it looks like with constant attention from the world, these incidents will be reduced. Unfortunately, I do not think it will ever stop. The overtime abuse in China reminds me of the case between Electronic Arts and some of its employees, and that is in the United States! Exploitation seems to be a universal constant.

Tags: foxconn

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