In an unprecedented move by Apple Inc. (AAPL), the company has allowed ABC’s ‘Nightline’ to access and report on Foxconn factories in China. Apple in recent times has come under the spotlight due to allegations of forced over time, under age labour and explosions in its supply chain factories.
AAPL has always as a company policy never commented on future products or delved into details about its manufacturing partners. However, ABC’s Bill Weir was approached by Apple to visit Foxconn factories, interview employees, managers and get a feel of the working conditions and how Apple’s products are manufactured in China.
Apple promised complete access, no dog-and-pony, no Potemkin Village, but they denied my repeated requests to interview Apple CEO Tim Cook or the senior vice president of industrial design, Jony Ive.
The story titled “iFactory: Inside Apple” will air on ABC today at 11:35 PM Eastern and Pacific. ABC recently posted a preview of the upcoming story which shows the co-anchor Bill Weir talking to Foxconn employees and even visiting the dorms where they stay.
Wier reports that after suicides took place in Foxconn the management became more conscious about the way they treat their employees and even set up counseling centers.
As groups of 300 are processed with military precision, an electronic billboard outside the recruitment center tells them what they can expect: starting salary is around $285 a month or $1.78 an hour. And even with the maximum 80 hours of overtime a month, the Chinese government considers them too poor to withdraw any payroll taxes.
One major complain that most employees seem to have was low pay. As labour is easily available and ready to work in shifts for long hours the monthly salary is very low and the repetitive nature of the job further caused them fatigue.
Apple joined the F.L.A. on Jan. 13, eight days before the New York Times ran a series examining the company’s labor practices.
In addition to granting access to Foxconn factories Apple has also allowed F.L.A (Fair Labor Association) to audit the factories. According to the report published by ABC News, F.L.A. President Auret van Heerden revealed that they had been in conversation with Apple for about five years.