While the numerous Foxconn units in China are where some of the world’s most sought after devices are made, they were found grabbing headlines till sometime ago for a different, not-so-good reason altogether. The working conditions across these factories raised quite a few eyebrows in the past, after instances of suicides were reported. Now, however, things are supposedly changing. A New York Times report has thrown some light on the first sweep of changes taking place in some factories in China. To begin with, it cites the example of a certain Ms. Pu who was recently provided with a beige wooden chair with a high, sturdy back, replacing her previous green stool. The green stool without a backrest had made Pu's back so sore that she could not sleep well enough at night. The change, the report shares, followed a 'critical' meeting between Foxconn's top executives and a high-ranking Apple official.
Conditions are slowly improving
Of what is being circulated, changes have also been planned across to California. The reforms suggested are being viewed as adept at creating a 'ripple effect' and making it easier for tens of millions of workers employed in this industry. However, the report shares that the bigger problems still remain. Many labourers reportedly continue working longer than their stipulated hours, while the safety of some employees continue to hang precariously.
HP and Intel executives believe that “electronic companies must overhaul how they interact with foreign plants and workers—often at a cost to their bottom-lines, though, analysts say, probably not so much as to affect consumer prices.” An Apple executive was quoted as saying, “The days of easy globalization are done.” The executive went on to add, “We know that we have to get into the muck now.” Gary Niekerk, a director of corporate social responsibility at Intel was quoted as saying, “This is on the front burner for everyone now.” He went on to add that no one in the company would want to end up in a factory that treats people badly, and ends up on the front page. Intel manufactures its semiconductors in China.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook made his maiden visit to the country that is home to the second largest market for his ‘iProducts’. Both Apple Inc. and Foxconn locked-in on an agreement, following which working conditions across the Foxconn plants was expected to undergo a massive facelift, changing everything ‘disturbing’ that the factories were earlier associated with. Apple Inc. and Foxconn agreed to improve the wages of the labourers, in addition to improving the working conditions across their plants. Over the months, when Foxconn grabbed global headlines, illegal work schedules had grown increasingly synonymous with Foxconn, but if reports are to be believed, then the new agreement expected to see massive number of recruits – as many as tens of thousands – joining in. The agreement also provisioned for improving the safety protocols followed in the factories, while also changing the worker housing conditions and other amenities for the better.