Is the Apple headache on China labour issues solved? Apple, the company linked with innovation and consumer appeal has a problem. Its been heavily criticized for allowing chinese people to work in slave labour conditions. People have heard stories of what happen in these factories.
There are stories of explosions and worker suicides in these factories. Staff working in these factories are poorly paid, they work in sweatshop conditions and work well above the regular hours. The workers are also poorly compensated when they suffer injuries in these conditions. It’s the 21st Century and conditions like this should not exist in the modern world.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has been willing to tackle the global criticism that mistreated chinese workers build their products. After agreeing to an independent probe by Fair Labor Association (FLA), Apple and Foxconn have agreed to improve the conditions of the workers and increase the workforce. However, the FLA has also been criticized for its close association with corporations.
The pivotal point in this issue is the contracts between Apple and its manufacturing partners. It’s my understanding that Apple has invested in some of these companies to get started. This partnership allows Apple to buy parts and labour at reduced costs to its competitors for several years. Is Apple willing to renegotiate these terms and conditions with its partners? Will it be the manufacturing partners that will burden the costs or will Apple join in. Apple still uses the factories, the question is will they do the ethical thing?
As consumers in the modern world, are we in part to blame? We love these new technologies, it makes our lives easier. We love the product, we hate that it has some unethical issues surrounding it, yet we still buy because we’re addicted to it. In the end, the question remains. Has Apple done enough to stop the labour issues? What else do you think Apple could be doing to improve conditions?
Contributing and Related Articles
- “Long Hours for China’s Ipad Makers” video report by John Sudworth at BBC News
- “Apple, Foxconn to revamp China work conditions” by Poornima Gupta & Edwin Chan