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Apple's Chinese manufacturer is poisoning it's workers

Community Veteran
Posts: 3,291
Thanks: 2
Registered: 10-08-2007

Apple's Chinese manufacturer is poisoning it's workers

Guardian article; Chinese workers link sickness to n-hexane and Apple iPhone screens

Staff suffer health decline after supplier's use of toxic chemical to clean western gadgets.

Quote
Next month, amid the usual hoopla, Apple is expected to officially unveil its latest gadget: the much-awaited iPhone 4G. But halfway round the globe from the company's California headquarters, a young worker who has spent months in an eastern Chinese hospital wants consumers to look beyond the shiny exterior of such gadgets.
"People should know what we do to create these products and what cost we pay," said Bai Bing as she perched on a bed in her ward.
She is one of scores of young workers in the city of Suzhou who were poisoned by the chemical n-hexane, which they say was used to clean Apple components including iPhone touch screens.

Quote
Apple declined to answer questions about the poisonings or about the firms involved, saying it does not reveal who it works with, although its spokeswoman added that Wintek had been "quite proactive" in discussing the issue. Instead it pointed to its code of conduct, which sets strict requirements for working and environmental practices, adding that many suppliers say they are the only customer carrying out such checks.
But the 2010 audit shows that manufacturers are routinely breaching the code. The majority – 54% – broke the 60-hour weekly work limit more than half the time. Another 39% failed to meet occupational injury prevention requirements; 17% failed on chemical exposure standards; and 35% did not meet wage and benefits requirements, with 24 of the 102 factories audited paying less than minimum wage for regular hours.
Three facilities used underage workers and three had falsified records. Apple said it terminated the contract in one of the latter cases, and required suppliers to make improvements and submit to reviews following other breaches.
4 REPLIES
WildRose52
Grafter
Posts: 507
Registered: 23-02-2010

Re: Apple's Chinese manufacturer is poisoning it's workers


Hello
Its a sad situation when workers` health is being affected in this way.
However, and as we must surely know, such Companies, by & large, are rarely bothered
about the health of either their employees (or even their customers)
I could think of several examples, but I wont outline them here because I didnt start this
thread so dont wish to go off topic.
I just hope enough people read it and decide to do the decent thing and boycot the product.
In this world of commercialism, where entertainment is everything, then I wont hold my breath
as to how many will listen.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,291
Thanks: 2
Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: Apple's Chinese manufacturer is poisoning it's workers

The iPhone won't be boycotted by the consumers. In fact the opposite is going to happen as the new 4G version is due soon all the owners of the previous model will be upgrading to the new version
If Apple were manucturing this product in the US  they would have to ensure their workers safety or suffer the legal consequences and financial punishment.
Not so in China of course.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Apple's Chinese manufacturer is poisoning it's workers

I think you're missing a point there though Brian – the workers aren't Apple's, they're employed by whichever company is contracted to manufacture Apple's products. Apple therefore have no real direct responsibility towards the workers – but they've taken some on anyway hence the yearly audits (which, as far as I'm aware, are unique to Apple).
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,291
Thanks: 2
Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: Apple's Chinese manufacturer is poisoning it's workers

The best way to manage manufacturing in China is to properly partner with the manufacturing companies. Typically this will be joint venture deals where many elements of the business can be addressed, quality, H & S, employee welfare, employee terms and conditions.
This process is more beneficial to the Chinese particularly as western standards are usually applied across the piece.
However this approach is more expensive that just setting up ad hoc subcontractors (as in the original story) so as usual, it all comes down to money.
Knowing what companies like Apple charge for their products one wonders how they, and others, justify this business model.