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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Worker commits suicide after 4G iPhone prototype goes missing

reading the recent news about how Apple makes their profits First of all let me say that I am a big Apple Fan but after reading the recent news about how Apple makes their profits like the recent news about how they deal with their Chinese workers and this Jack Bauer on a 4G handset theft makes me think twice if that should be supported. We have evidently reintroduced slavery in many regions of the world even in developed countries this trend picks up momentum. As much as I think Apple creates the best entertainment products it should not be on back of people earning 20 Dollar and month and even not getting paid that's not tolerable.

Excerpt 1

By Neil Hughes

Published: 11:40 AM EST

A 25-year-old man reportedly committed suicide after an iPhone prototype he was responsible for went missing, leading to alleged "unbearable interrogation techniques" in the ensuing investigation, according to a Chinese publication.

As first reported by ND Daily, the man, Sun Danyong, reportedly had his property seized and was held in solitary confinement after one of 16 prototype iPhones he was responsible for went missing. The man jumped from a 12-story building last week.

As translated by Shanghaiist, the man told his friends before his death that the security guards with Foxconn, the iPhone manufacturing company, had laid hands on him. Chinese media reported that the missing device was a new "4G" iPhone.

In the wake of the incident, officials from Foxconn issued a statement that included an apology. According to Shanghaiist, the section chief of the Central Security division "may have used 'inappropriate interrogation methods' such as searching Sun's house, holding Sun in solitary confinement and possibly beatings." In addition, a Foxconn spokesperson reportedly said the incident is an example of the company's "internal management deficiencies."

Though the section chief has been suspended without pay, security officers who worked with him said it was unlikely that Sun was beaten.

Some, such as DigitalBeat, have taken to citing the incident as an example of the impact of Apple's secretive nature. They conclude that there is great pressure on Foxconn to keep Apple's secrets in order to retain their manufacturing contract.

"(Apple) uses the element of surprise to help build up excitement for its flashy product launches, helping to drive sales and its stock price higher," Eric Eldon writes. "In order to make that happen, Apple exerts immense pressure on its business partners help it maintain secrecy. The missing phone, some sort of new iPhone, has so far been nothing more than speculation among gadget sites."

It's another story of trouble from China for Apple. Just last week, the company's foreign factories came under fire, as a new investigation found that 45 of the 83 factories that built iPhones and iPods in 2008 weren't paying valid overtime rates, and 23 weren't even paying some of their workers China's minimum wage.

Tuesday afternoon, Apple issued a response on the matter to CNet.

"We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."

Excerpt 2

Apple's image may be tarnished by poor factory conditions

By Aidan Malley

Published: 07:05 PM EST

Apple presents an image of quality, but an audit of its factories in mainland China showed that more than half of these weren't paying their workers properly last year.

Following an investigation on Tuesday into many Chinese companies violating recent labor laws, it's now known through Apple's 2009 responsibility progress report that 45 of the 83 factories that built iPhones and iPods in 2008 weren't paying valid overtime rates for those workers that qualified, while 23 of these weren't even paying some of their workers China's minimum wage.

A deeper look at Apple's findings found that about 25 of the 83 also discriminated to some degree against people based on ethnicity, biological issues like disabilities, or political leanings. 22 didn't meet environmental standards, while almost exactly a fifth also had problems with on-site living conditions and safety.

In a few extreme cases, seven factories had been caught having at least at one time hired underage workers, though were weren't more than 25 people involved. Some workers at six factories also had to enter debt to a recruitment agency just to start work and were effectively forced to work to pay off their recruiters.

When contacted by Bloomberg, Apple maintained that it has regularly audited all of its suppliers in China and otherwise since 2007 and that it has actively sought to improve conditions for those contracted and migrant workers most likely to be hurt by labor abuses. The report itself mentions that Apple goes above and beyond inspections performed by other companies and talks to contractors and migrants themselves, also insisting on ways for employees to complain about conditions without fear of retaliation.

Still, bringing these outstanding issues to light underscores a number of labor-related problems in Asia that have dimmed Apple's often heavily polished corporate image up to and including this year. After an unofficial look into sub-par conditions at Foxconn factories producing iPods during 2006, Apple had little option but to conduct its first sweeping audit and clean up widespread problems at the Chinese firm. In Taiwan, where labor laws are more rigidly enforced, Apple has still had to contend with allegations of questionable pay cuts and retaliatory firings at Wintek, which supplies iPhone screens to this day.

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