Strikes at Foxconn

Once again, Foxconn is in the news for labor issues. Although the company denies allegations, reports show workers on strike because of poor working conditions and unrealistic expectations for production. The maker of the iPhone 5 and other Apple products acknowledged two small disputes but no organized strike or stoppage. 

Last week, videos showed workers rioting. This Reuters report calls the situation "the dark side of tech assembly plants in China."

According to China Labor Watch, a watch group based in New York, between 3,000 and 4,000 workers have gone on strike. The group explains the conflict in a press release:

"In addition to demanding that workers work during the holiday, Foxconn raised overly strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills. This led to workers turning out products that did not meet standards and ultimately put a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. Additionally, quality control inspectors fell into to conflicts with workers and were beat up multiple times by workers. Factory management turned a deaf ear to complaints about these conflicts and took no corrective measures. The result of both of these circumstances was a widespread work stoppage on the factory floor among workers and inspectors."


 Discussion Starters:

  • So far, Apple has not issued a response to the latest news at Foxconn. Should the company respond, and if so, how?
  • What is Apple's responsibility in this situation with its major supplier? What should the company do?