ABC News gets inside look at Foxconn

The iPad is shown after it was unveiled at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
February 21, 2012 10:20:03 PM PST
Apple has given ABC News exclusive access to its contractor's assembly lines in China in the face of mounting criticism of conditions there. Correspondent Bill Weir went inside Foxconn, but Chinese factories have been in the crosshairs for years.

Foxconn employees make $1.78 an hour and work 60 hours a week. That's an improvement compared to a few years ago at toy and electronics assembly lines ABC7 visited.

We went to southern China's factories six and a half years ago. Criticism was mounting then that conditions were harsh, pay was low, and the work was hard. But tens of thousands of rural residents flocked to the cities to escape poverty and make money.

Here's what a toy factory worker from sichuan told us.

"Working in this kind of job, you can earn enough money; it's OK, but not to be very, very rich," a toy factory worker from Sichuan told ABC7. (Translated from Chinese)

Fast forward to today, and ABC News Nightline anchor Bill Weir found that little has changed.

"It's mostly hand work, and it's the same repetitive motion, soldiering the same chip, flipping over the same camera module, or wiping a screen three, four, 5,000 times a day, 60 hour grueling week," Weir said.

Workers told Weir that they were mostly happy, but wanted higher pay.

Apple gave ABC News free access to Foxconn at the same time as the Fair Labor Association began doing an audit of the operation.

Victor Menotti is executive director of the International Forum on Globalization. The San Francisco-based think tank believes the scrutiny Apple and Foxconn are getting may produce change at the same time Chinese workers are becoming restive.

"Within China, you have growing political pressure from below, from people who want better working conditions, not just better wages but be treated more safely. but also the foreign companies are getting pressured by their contractors here and by the consumer base here and campaign groups for labor rights here," Menotti said.

Foxconn is headquartered in Taiwan. Its one million employees in China also produce electronics for Microsoft, Dell, and HP. Foxconn earlier this week announced its raising pay as much as 25 percent. That translates into a monthly wage of $285-$400.


Load Comments