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Apple to investigate 'iPod Sweatshop' claims

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 17 Jun 2006 15:36 User comments (14)

Apple to investigate 'iPod Sweatshop' claims Apple Computer Inc. has released a statement promising to investigate claims made by a British newspaper about working conditions at an iPod-producing factory in China. According to the Mail on Sunday, the factory employs some 200,000 workers who are pushed to 15 hour work days for about $50 per month. The workers live in dormitories where visitors are not permitted.
After the report was published and Apple fan sites started buzzing over it, the company released a statement. "Apple is committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible," the statement said.

The company is "investigating the allegations regarding working conditions in the iPod manufacturing plant in China." It added, "We do not tolerate any violations of our supplier code of conduct." iPod factory workers are employed by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn Electronics Inc.

While the working conditions at the factory might seem shocking to some, they are not unusual or uncommon according to Karin Mak, a project coordinator at a nonprofit watchdog organization called Sweatshop Watch. "It's very common," she said. "These types of conditions are very typical, unfortunately."

Some posts on Apple enthusiast sites are accusing the Mail on Sunday of targeting the iPod with sensationalist journalism because of it's popularity just to make a headline. Whatever the case may be, this is still a major PR headache for Apple to deal with, and it clashes with current protests and demonstrations against Apple's alleged use of Digital Rights Management technology (FairPlay) to restrict consumers from enjoying their iTunes music on players other than iPods.


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14 user comments

117.6.2006 16:43

Heres a thought while they get thier cheap labor in china whos stoping whoever from copying or cloneing the tech and selling cheaper black market Ipods?

217.6.2006 16:50

Wow, just wow. I will still support Apple, whether or not these claims are true!

317.6.2006 17:44

That sucks. Still though. Don't be too quick at blaming Apple. Like all big companies, they outsource their production work to independent companies. That company is the one whos responsible for the work conditions of their employees. If Apple actually cares, they will force the plant to change their employment policies or move production somewhere else. Hopefully, that won't translate into higher product price or other problems for consumers.

417.6.2006 17:49

Nick600 that is BS they dont care who they the work to as long as its cheaps its always been like that.

517.6.2006 18:43

"Nick600 that is BS they dont care who they the work to as long as its cheaps its always been like that."- No really, he knows what hes talking about( as depressing as it is). Though, I'm going to sit here and like Apple had no idea about these conditions. I coulda guessed that and i don't even live there. It's not uncommon to find similar working environments in China.

617.6.2006 18:44

"I'm not" that is. Sorry for the typo

717.6.2006 19:04

BOOO, apple haters, BOOO

817.6.2006 19:37

Cinnjerm pretty much its not thier job to give a rats ass (coperations in genreal) if they are helping to undermine ecenomic bance of the US or help other contrys get a foot hold in the us (dubi ports,that tank parts contract) sure we are not a island but ti dosent help that we are not reigning in these coperations that bleed US jobs and money to everywhere but here......>> *rant mode ended* *L*

917.6.2006 21:09

@ ZippyDSM I know what you're saying though and you're right. Though Apple is not the one mistreating these workers and I'm sure they don't support that, they outsource to China because they like paying ten times less than they would were those units made in the U.S. There is a lot of BS in that system, however, and that is very unfortunate, it is a very common thing in China. Because one US dollar has a lot of buying power in countries like China, Apple saves on production costs while probably honestly thinking they are giving a lot of jobs to some Chinese people who need them. The root of the problem is in China. The reason their abusing workers is even legal in the first place is because the Chinese government does not do a whole lot to prevent this. Don't think the factory owners aren't making big bucks with this. They love western business... The thing is if a lot of american companies simply withdraw their business from China, I'm affraid it could gravely affect their economy. Something to know about China is that they are currently in a transition period. A lot of China is being torn down to be rebuilt "newer" with the intention of competing with north american and european markets. They depend on exports. Whether it be China made products or someone else's, they have the hands to build them. What they need is the right people to lead them and ensure the workers get decent working conditions and a fair slice of the cake. Damn. Sorry for the novel, you who have actually read through the above crap. Just my two cents. (I edited because of a friggin typo! arrgh!)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Jun 2006 @ 21:13

1018.6.2006 4:26

It would seem that Apple would lower the price of those high a$$ I-Pod's since they are paying for cheap labor. I mean come on, to be paying these people 50 bucks a month for labor & then charge hundreds for that damn I-Pod, is not right at all. I do not own any Apple product & after hearing this...true or not...I know I will not buy anything made by these guys.

1118.6.2006 7:31

Well why does chinese get paid so little. Whats wrong over there? Maybe it is worth what apple is paying. WHy should the pay so much when they will work for so little. Dont flame me, just my opinion.

1218.6.2006 11:57

Woah with all the news surrounding Apple and iTunes/iPods PLUS Microsoft trying to beat them i can see iPods/iTunes becoming less and less popular..

1318.6.2006 13:46

Nick600 the problem is not china persay,its good old fashioned greed,the politions and the coprerations dont giv a flip about keeping this contry stable and blanced asll they care about is makeing as much money as they can befor they retier to another contry,and the worest thign about it is the goverment is pattign them on the ack as they export jobs and money without a good working force here Socail securty will dry up and the middle class will vanish......and that will make us XXX generic 3rd world...the ture root of the problem is the goverment not willing to stick up for what this contry need..tis the contry...nto the coperations...... and this has spraked me to send lou dobbs another email *L* Love the show as always keep all thier toes to the fire no one else will! moveing on to my comment..... Goverment,politicians,Corperations.... Its all about greed,the politicians run the goverment the corperations run the politicians and whos left to keep the balance for this contry? NO ONE, and without a balance Social Secuirty will end and the middle class will vanish leaveing whoever is left with a 3rd world nation called the US of A......forget the economy ....ITS THE CONTRY STUPID!!!!!!!!!! Just in case no one understands,without protecting the balance (keepign the poor from fallign in the void,and haveing a thriveing middle class) there will be no America,at least non that most of us can recognize... I even spell checked it :P

1418.6.2006 18:56

Self-interest and greed is the very heart of a meritocracy. Let's face it, all the big business goes to 3rd world countries, in hopes of higher profit margins, aiming for low or no labour standards, in communism, stalinist,etc type countries where big money dictates how things will be rolling. As long as there are extremes, North American wealth, and 3rd world poverty, there will be someone or some entity wanting to take advantage of the whole thing. The ideals of a democracy reverberate around capitalism, free business, to follow the dream, per say. However, even the North American extreme can only come to thrive when someone else is being exploited. Africa is a great example of this, with GDP in the minus! Therefore, the "sweatshop dilemma" emerges: "do we buy from good old USA or Canada, homebrewed products, so to speak, or buy products from outside that are less expensive at the expense of the China man or woman, working for pennies for the hour? That's the real dilemma, although rhetorical in nature, I think slavery type wages suck, and the people who administer them, should be sent to these sweatshops to work there for a week, and say to themselves: "golly, I did this to him or her! What was I thinking!" However, most often, big earnings also correlate to weakened moral standards, and concern for the common human being.

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