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Just as Apple’s homepage is running a one year anniversary montage eulogizing Steve Jobs’ death, the attention paid to Apple’s latest ‘game changer’ the iPhone 5, is becoming more negative as unwanted press continues from the people who actually put the thing together – namely the Chinese-based Foxconn plants and their workers.
As the home of much of the electronics industry (both east and west), Foxconn has plants around the country employing several hundred thousand workers and has been the focus of Chinese labour laws, suicides, factory riots and an ever-evolving petri dish of political and social clashes. A new generation of Chinese workers refuse to be treated as robots – long hours, poor pay, no holidays – and have instigated ongoing mutinies with their employer, who remains contrite in the press, as have Apple. But, the riots and strikes continue.
The latest news from CNN is that “Thousands of factory workers at Foxconn went on strike Friday to protest their working conditions on the iPhone 5‘s production lines, according to a report from an independent workers’ rights organization.” This latest disagreement stems from “overly strict demands” concerning the production of Apple’s new phone, with Foxconn denying the strike ever took place. Apparently there were flaws reported in recent batches of iPhones, so workers were given “new, impossibly strict standards, demanding precision down to increments as small as two-hundredths of a millimeter, according to CLW (China Labour Watch)…Employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard”…claiming “design defects” in the iPhone 5,” reports CNN.
This is an interesting microcosm of not only an evolving communist country, grappling with the burgeoning desire to be more western politically, socially and economically, but also dissects the real intent of the west’s beacon of that ‘free, democratic’ culture, specifically Apple. Stay tuned, as I’m sure there will be more from both parties soon.