Tuesday, June 27, 2006

iPod City Workers Just Like The Self Employed In The US

Last week, Fix Your Thinking did an analysis of the "alledged iPod City Labor debacle" that was so widely reported amongst Mac News sites without any practical or rational commentary.

The press couldn't leave this story alone. It was suspicious to me because this seems like a common "misdemeanor deed" amongst manufacturers ... it almost seemed as if this information was being leaked by a competitor to hurt Apple.

FoxConn says iPod City allegations defaming ... may sue

As reported by ChinaCSR:

Foxconn, an original equipment manufacturer for Apple's iPod, has admitted that their employees work about 80 extra hours each month, which is against the law in China.

According to Chinese labor laws, a company breaks the law if it asks employees to work more than 36 extra hours each month.

However, Li Zong, a spokesperson from Foxconn, says Foxconn's complicated salary structure has caused misunderstanding among the media, and the company has paid the workers according to the minimum salary standards of the Shenzhen local government.

Li also says Apple has sent a special team to investigate, but has found no problem with Foxconn.

It was reported earlier that Apple's iPod OEM paid very little to the workers and provided very poor working conditions for them in their Chinese factories.


The truth to the story is that the overtime (while against China Labor law) was voluntary NOT mandatory (or "forced" as the article states) and it was paid. Some weeks, as I am self employed I have 20 hour days. Some days, for the work I do in those 20 hour days I earn less than minimum wage. Same goes for executive management in a lot of companies. Still it remains voluntary.

Why aren't human rights analysts excited about the opportunity for advancement that these factories provide? They have education plans as well. How are these people going to get the same housing, food, education, and career opportunity in a rice field?

Honestly, I'm glad that Apple is finally examining and using the low cost solutions that the competition uses against them to compete on price/margin. I am glad that they decided not to go with an Indian Call Center though.

Followup:

An Apple Costs Less In China

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