Foxconn: Apple will help pay to make working here better


Credit: Credit: Bowen Liu/Apple Inc. via Bloomberg

Credit: Bowen Liu/Apple Inc. via Bloomberg

A Reuters report Thursday says Apple(s AAPL) will help defray the costs of improving the working conditions at the factories of its most important manufacturing partner, Foxconn.

Without saying how much of the costs Apple plans to cover, or even how much money overall he’s talking about, Foxconn’s chief executive Terry Gou told Reuters:

“We’ve discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength,” Gou told reporters Thursday after the ground-breaking ceremony for a new China headquarters in Shanghai.

“I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs.”

 The working and living conditions of Foxconn employees, as well as excessive overtime requirements, brought intense scrutiny to both Foxconn and Apple earlier this year thanks to a now largely debunked story reported by monologist Mike Daisey as well as a multi-part investigation by The New York Times. Apple also released its own supplier report reflecting labor violations at Foxconn and other partners’ plants and later published the results of third-party auditors it sent to perform follow-up inspections.

In the aftermath of the negative public attention, Foxconn promised to cut down on overtime, improve facility conditions and raise salaries. It’s not entirely clear if these are the costs that Apple will help pay for, according to Gou.

I’ve reached out to Apple for clarification and will update the story if I hear back.

It should be noted that Apple’s relationship with its contract manufacturers hadn’t been really discussed publicly until Tim Cook stepped into the full-time chief executive role. Concern first arose over Foxconn’s labor issues several years ago with a spate of suicides among workers, but Apple had very little to say about that at the time.

Besides responding to outrage over worker mistreatment when these reports arose in January, overseeing the first public release of Apple’s supplier report and ordering third-party audits, Cook has tried to improve Apple’s image on this issue by other means. He spent a good chunk of his remarks at a February investor conference expressing his concern over working conditions at Apple’s contract manufacturing partners and offered details about Apple’s worker education initiatives. Apple also released a photo of Cook meeting with Foxconn workers on the factory floor during a trip to China in March.

But if this report pans out, this latest move is more than a photo opp or talk to impress investors or potential customers — this is starting to look like Cook’s mark on Apple.



All these guys are muppets. I cannot imagine that neither in apple nor in Foxconn nobody was not aware of the problem, but as long as there is buyers for the products who cares about the miserable daily life of this workers. We have to be clear as well the problem is us as we have the power to make things changing. Lets imagine we decide an embargo on apple product until the sitation drastically improve for this workers. I am sure the problem will be solved in weeks and may be days. SO we are just the witness of this guys. Seeing Mr Cook shaking hand of a foxconn worker is no more then a bad joke. It is time to react and to become a responsible customers if not I don’t see why we care about the situation of these people.

Shameer Mulji

While you’re at it make sure you arrange an embargo on every electronics manufacturer in existence since they’re in the same boat as Apple in china and chinese workers. At least Apple is doing something about it and doing a far better job than their competitors.

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