After promising to improve the working and living conditions of its employees, China’s Foxconn Electronics is facing a new PR debacle as undercover French reporters are seemingly revealing that nothing has changed at the company’s assembly lines.
Envoyé Spécial infiltrated Foxconn’s Zhengzhou iPhone 5 factory and stayed there for a couple of months to blend in. The end result is some highly disturbing footage (embedded below).
The dorms at the new factory, for example, were still under construction and posed safety hazards when the workers were moved in, the reporters said.
Many of the buildings had no elevators, electricity or running water, and one Foxconn manager was caught on tape warning employees against using wall outlets saying that eight workers had been killed in a fire because of an electric surge.
Student employees revealed to the reporters that they’d been forced to work there by their corrupt school administrators who reportedly told them that the job was mandatory in order to receive a diploma.
Much of the $290 / €220 monthly salary earned by regular workers goes back into Foxconn for various services, such as housing, insurance, food, and even counseling to prevent suicide, the French reporters said.
Envoyé Spécial says many of these issues are caused by the huge demand for Apple’s iPhone 5, which Foxconn assembles.
One employee reportedly said the iPhone 5 is so difficult to make that Foxconn is forced to recruit fresh blood on a regular basis.
Responding to these allegations, the Cupertino giant said, “Apple is committed to the highest standards of social responsibility across our worldwide supply chain.”
“We insist that all of our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever our products are made,” the company’s PR people added.
Foxconn, for its part, said “Foxconn takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our 1.4 million employees in China a safe and satisfactory working environment.”
“We are mandated by our own strict policies, Chinese government law, and our commitments to our customers to ensure that the highest level of health and safety standards are applied to our operations in all locations throughout China,” Foxconn said.