“We are extremely tired, with tremendous pressure. We finish one step in every seven seconds, which requires us to concentrate and keep working and working. We work faster even than the machines.”
How do you feel about buying that iPad now? Knowing that this is how the worker how made it feels about their job?
A corporate nightmare is taking shape for Apple, H-P and Dell out in China. The spate of suicides at FoxConn, the Chinese manufacturer responsible for so many of their products reveals how companies which present such a sunny face to their consumers in the West depend on darker realities in the places where they make their goods.
In truth, it is hard to make sense of what is going on in these factories, because we know so little. FoxConn and their Western partners are extremely reluctant to talk about this issue, saying only that they adhere to international standards. That’s a cop-out. A standard becomes meaningless when your employees are killing themselves at an alarming rate.
Can those who shunned Nike because of its supply chain issues now buy Apple or H-P products with a clean conscience?
Until we find out more about what’s happening at FoxConn, this is going to be a profound and growing problem for Western firms. They need to be much more open and visibly concerned about working conditions along their supply chain. A proper view of human dignity would allow that what’s good for workers in Silicon Valley should be good for workers in China.
Evidently, that’s not what’s going on.