Foxconn is of the most important chinese suppliers of the IT and communication companies worldwide. It has production sites in several chinese provinces, but also in Europe, Mexico, and the US.
Apple is among the costumers that Foxconn supplies. Other companies are HP, Lenovo, Dell and IBM.
According to its CSR report 2010, Foxconn employed 935,000 workers worldwide.
Foxconn is mainly criticized for the poor working conditions at its factory sites: low wages, long working hours, overtime without payment, missing safety measures or the use of toxic substances.
Factory in Chengdu, Sichuan province:
The factory in Chengdu was newly build and meant to be ready for production in 2010. Workers recruited in Shenzhen for the Chengdu factory only held a trainee status.
Workers do overtime to reach a salary that pays their needs. Overtime is significantly higher than the legal limit (Sacom report May 2011).
The video shows that production already started when the construction of the building was not yet finished. The facility ruins 24 hours, seven days a week, and workers do 12 hours shifts, sometimes 13 days in a row before having their day-off. The video also shows assemblies of workers similar to military training.
In May 2011, an explosion at the polishing line for the iPad cases, killed three workers and injured at least 16. The explosion was due to unventilated air ducts, and workers didn´t wear safety gear.
Also in May 2011, a worker at the Chengdu plant committed suicide by jumping off the roof of his apartment building.
Factory in Wuhan, Hubei province:
In Wuhan, Foxconn workers produce the Xbox 360 for Microsoft.
Early 2012, workers threatened mass suicide. At least 150 workers climbed a factory building and threatened to jump off the roof.
It is unclear if the reason for this protest was the demand for higher wages or to express the refusal to rotate without notice nor adequate training to another assembly line.
More information concerning this incident:
Factory in Shenzhen, Guangdong province:
Since 1980 Shenzhen is a Special Economic Zone that profits from the vicinity to Hongkong. While in 1979 the town counted 30,000 inhabitants, this number rose to 12 million in 2011.
The Foxconn factory in Shenzhen has a workforce of 500.000 workers, as Sacom estimates.
Many of them, about twenty years old, come from rural areas.
In 2010, 10 workers of the plants in Shenzhen committed suicide because of the heavy work load and high production quota, long working days, forced overtime, wages that are too low to provide workers with a decent living, and unhealthy or sometimes forthright dangerous labour conditions (Sacom report, May 2010)
In reaction to the suicides, Foxconn installed safety nets between the buildings and made the workers to sign “no suicide pacts”. By signing this document, workers agreed that Foxconn would only provide a “reasonable pension” to the family of a dead worker, that they would not sue the company for the loss, and that Foxconn could send them to hospital if they “exhibited abnormal physical or mental problems”.
Recruitment of workers for the Shenzhen plant has stopped. New employees of Chengdu were to fill the gaps as trainees and then, in an effort to reduce workforce at Shenzhen plant to 300,000 people, to be sent back to Chengdu plant, where salaries are lower. According to Sacom, workers didn´t know about time schedules.
Kunshan and Nanjing factories, Jiangsu province:
A study by Peking and Tsinghua universities said that Foxconn signed recruitment contracts with 200 vocational schools that then sent them their students as interns even if the work at Foxconn was not related to their curriculum.
The students had to do the same work as the contracted employees but were paid even less.