We’ve all seen the horrible labour conditions of Asian clothing factories. Their association with labels such as Nike have been in public consciousness since the 1990’s. These problems still exist today, but theres a new breed of harmful workplace in the technology industry.
Taking Apple as an example, their crisp lines and clean design concepts are made for the masses in a contrastingly shameful environment. Watch this video from 2010 when Foxconn (their producer company) was under the spotlight:
-minimum of 12 hour days
-13 days work before a day of rest is issued
-working in unfinished factories: rubble, machinery, lack of safety regulations
-no protection for workers and lack of ventilation (leading to explosion)
-suicides (16 in 2 months) lead to nets covering walkways and roads in the streets below and bars installed on windows of workers quarters
Since then there has been pressure on companies to clean up their act. It was not Apple inflicting these conditions on workers, but their involvement with Foxconn meant they were using this exploitation to their advantage rather than changing it. The efficiency of the Asian factories is required by such companies as Apple to reach their targets and keep up with the demand for their products. However this does not mean we must accept the horrifying conditions people are subject to in order to make products which they will, as it stands, never be able to afford themselves.
Steps are being made to bring Asian factory workers greater quality of life. But it must remain in the public eye to keep the pressure on. The world is run by money, and if consumers remain in the dark, or continue not to care for the origins of their purchases, the suppliers will continue to fall short of ethical practices.
This article outline some of the changes that are being made by apple since Foxconn’s exposure: