While the user community is head over heels in love with Apple products, people at China and Honk Kong don’t think so. The story of Apple’s shady work ethics coincides with increased suicide rates, mysterious deaths of Foxconn employees and so much more.

Worker commits suicide at Foxconn

Honk Kong / China: All over the world, a fair percentage of people normally joke about unexpected faults in any iProduct as, “Hey, the Chinese kids must have done this by mistake”. Did you know that the actual work environment and surroundings are literally a hazard to Foxconn employees?

Some of us may not even know what Foxconn looks like from the inside. It is one of the 3rd party companies that take manufacturing orders from conglomerates such as, but not limited to Apple. The ‘i’ product visionaries have simply outsourced all their product assembly to countries beyond the U.S. soil because it helps them cut down on expenses, and aids in avoiding labor rights related issues to a great extent.

Debby Chan outside a manufacturing facility

Why bother to pay employees at a higher rate when they will do almost twice as much work at the “normal” pay scale? Why bother to listen to labor rights and activists when their voice keeps falling on deaf ears? More so, all legal issues don’t fall within the U.S. jurisdiction vicinity, right? So as long as middlemen and company owners at both sides are making money, no one bothers to care about something as menial as “human rights”.

Debby Chan has long been a dedicated human rights activist. She might not be the person to have the answers to various reasons as to why Apple or other companies violate labor rights, but yeah, she does have a lot of questions. Her modest Honk Kong office portrays a visage of a revolution that’s waiting to go mass scale anytime soon. From Burma’s killings to a poster of an iPhone screen that shows a bleeding worker, with “No More iSlave”, she has a story to tell.

Chan talks about Li Wangyang as a Chinese dissident who was found dead, hanging by a rope around his neck. The former Foxconn employee and labor rights activist had long been involved in trying to get a share of “reasonable” facilities and human rights to his fellow employees. Authorities and near relatives believe Wangyang’s death coincides with suspecting company employers and multiple threats made against his family.

An artist's view of Foxconn Apple China

  • SACOM Vs. Foxconn – Who will eventually win?

It is not the question of winning; it is all about prevailing in the long run. SACOM, the ‘Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior’ is a social welfare and human rights group that’s pretty famous these days. Headed by none other than Debby herself, the volunteers are trying to divert the entire world’s attention towards Foxconn plants in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou areas.

  • New iPhones; same old number of work related abuses:

Just when Apple was ready to launch the iPhone 5 2012, alongside a barrage of iPhone 5 manuals, SACOM workers were busy getting their report published. It is called: “New iPhones, Old Abuses”, a well written document that focuses on the still unsolved problems of Foxconn employees.

“New iPhones, Old Abuses” is based on findings discovered through 60 Foxconn employee interviews at its Zhengzhou, China plant. Debbie Chan travelled all the way from Honk Kong to China to personally get a piece of what those workers had to say about Apple and Foxconn’s misgivings.

  • iSlaves complain about excessive overtime:

It is all the same over different branches”, said one of the employees under promise of anonymity. Chan quotes an average worker’s dilemma as, “They are living in a hopeless situation. They remain oblivious to safety standards and Apple’s stance on taking everything so lightly.

iQuit - No more work for Apple

Above all, when employees are forced to work overtime because of measly pay scales, they have got nothing much to say. If they are not going to crunch in extra hours, they are free to leave the job. Foxconn will just hire a replacement for creating its barrage of “i” devices, while the former employee, in question, will keep looking for a job for months to come.

  • Apple offshore manufacturing facilities have the worst security standards for workers:

Did you know that the iPhone or any number of “i” gadgets are made from rocks? That’s not all. After mining for raw materials, different chemicals are added to the process to manufacture an iPhone, or an iPad or any Apple invention for that matter.

Over at Foxconn – China, when all this is going on, workers are given little or no room for safety standards adherence. Normally, the so-called “Chinese Kids”, don’t even know what kind of chemical they are dealing with as;

  1. Most of the Chemicals involved in producing an iPhone are NOT labeled.
  2. No one gives a sh*t!
  3. Even if the “i” device chemical containers are labeled, the “iSlaves” are not provided with any safety gear or none so ever.
  • OM Nom Nom – Apple keeps on accruing revenue at the expense of a worker’s health:

And why wouldn’t Apple’s profit increase? They are strategically cutting down on employee work standards, work ethics and etc. All the more, the company presidents are busy telling the entire world with strange accents about the brand new features in the device. This is something that people want to root for.

Who gives a damn about the “dumb” Chinese Kids who accidentally caused your iPhone 5 screen to glitch? Besides, Apple has made a name for its products. Wasn’t I right about Smosh’s joke? No one cares how expensive those iDevices are, “people are gonna buy anyway”.

  • Is Apple On a Head Start to Conduct an Exclusive Foxconn Audit?

All thanks to the pressure inflicted by FLA (Fair Labor Rights Association), at least a spokesperson from Apple was willing to comment on the recent employee work standards at Foxconn. “We are happy to announce that under the authorization of FLA, Foxconn will be Foxconn as part of our ongoing plans in March. This will ensure better safety standards in the long run…”

Wow, doesn’t that smell like a lot of gas? Of course it does. If Apple can push deadlines to meet its goals, then why hasn’t anyone actually audited Foxconn ever since the “part of those so called operations” has been initiated? Doesn’t that sound like just another press conference statement? It does.

  • Debbie Chan did not receive a warm welcome

Debbie was held for more than 10 hours by the local police, after arriving in Shaoyang. The human rights activist was strip searched under the suspicion of terrorism and weapons concealment. The investigators, though they didn’t find any lethal objects, did deprive her of welfare leaflets, brochures and any piece of information that might have aided in spreading awareness against Apple and Foxconn.

Seeing to such degree of maltreatment, Chan does intend to quite her career anytime soon. She expressed her desire to resign from her position as head of the SACOM to work in some other organization.

A 2007 report conducted against Apple has strongly hinted Chinese workers excessively working overtime on the iPod model assembly. Ever since then, both companies have announced to make things better for their workers. Apple also made announcements concerning contract terminations with manufacturers that do not meet the company’s standards.

That’s might impressive but then again, if it’s all about terminating contracts with suppliers and manufacturers, why is Foxconn still in the big picture? Does anyone have any answer to this? Apple did terminate contract with some defaulters but then again, such announcements and incidents give head to persistent flow of further violations.