Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans in San Francisco protested the long hours and bad conditions at the Foxconn factory in southern China, where the Apple iPad is manufactured.
In mid-June they lined up in front of Apple’s flagship store in San Francisco, holding signs with the names of workers at the factory who have committed suicide because of the conditions.
Those conditions include 80 hours of overtime a month, according to the Chinese media. Chinese law limits overtime to 36 hours per month. No one is allowed to talk on the production line, and workers complain of constant high line speed and speedup. Most workers live in huge dormitories, where often 12 people share a room.
The suicides include a man who jumped from a dormitory. He’d worked there for two years. Another man, recently hired, slit his wrists and was taken to a hospital. A woman hanged herself in the bathroom, and a man drowned in a company swimming pool. The latest person committed suicide right after Foxconn’s head, Terry Guo, had visited the factory and taken journalists on a tour.
Apple Corporation was embarrassed by the disclosure of the conditions for the people who make iPhones, iPods and iPads. The company, which has pushed for extra production of the newly unveiled iPad, said it would compensate workers by increasing the money it was paying Foxconn from 2.3% to 3% of the final price it charges for an iPad. That’s the equivalent of the amount Apple spends for the device’s aluminium back.
The protest and memorial was organized by San Francisco’s Chinese Progressive Association.