Apple temporarily closes iPhone factory due to working conditions

Photo: AFP/AFP (Getty Images)

The company that makes your iPhone is in trouble again. According to reports, Apple has lost its long-running computer parts contractor, Foxconn, on trial after a factory of the infamous Taiwanese company accidentally made hundreds of its employees seriously ill earlier this month.

The factory, which is based in India and employs about 17,000 people to make the iPhone 12, was the subject of widespread protests last week after a serious attack of food poisoning at the factory left hundreds of workers in need of medical attention, Reuters has reported. 159 people had to be hospitalized and some 250 others were treated in outpatient settings in connection with the incident. The factory, which is located in the state Tamil Nadu, provides housing and meals to employees, as usual for large-scale industrial plants requiring long hours and intensive shifts. However, those meals are apparently not that great.

After learning that hundreds of their employees had become ill from food prepared in a company-sponsored cafeteria, workers at the factory staged a protest and then blocked a major highway as part of their demonstration. The protests were not only related to the recent incident, but also the overall poor working conditions at the factory, he said a recent report from Bloomberg. Many of the protesters were arrested.

This whole uproar eventually forced the factory to close for several days while government officials inspected the facility — and the incident has now sparked calls for a broader investigation into the way the factory’s workers are treated.

As noted earlier, Apple also placed the factory on trial-meaning it will remain closed, reportedly until changes can be made that fix the issues. We contacted Apple and Foxconn with multiple requests for comment on this story, but did not hear back.

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An Apple spokesperson apparently told TechCrunch that the company “will ensure our strict standards are met before the facility reopens.” The spokesperson further noted that “some of the remote dormitories and dining rooms used for employees do not meet our requirements and we are working with the supplier to ensure a comprehensive set of corrective measures is implemented quickly.”

In case you haven’t been keeping track of all this, Foxconn is Apple’s largest manufacturing contractor, but has since been widely regarded as a fucking nightmare for workers. so far back like the Steve Jobs days. An outbreak of 14 suicides in 2010 sparked widespread concern and outrage over the company’s working conditions. another employee committed suicide in 2012. To ward off further death, the company infamous “suicide nets” installed (or what it called “anti-jumping” nets) around the edges of its factories and worker dormitories as a solution for its workers who wanted to commit suicide.

The company has consistently made promises to improve the living standards of its employees – and there has been some debate about how bad Foxconn’s conditions are compared to the rest of its regional competitors. However, in 2018, the company was forced to investigating a factory in China that produces Amazon Echo Dots and Kindles after a watchdog group claimed working conditions at the facility were harsh.

It’s also probably not a super hopeful sign that the recent protests since then have been about Foxconn’s food, like way back in the early Obama years, employees have complained that the company’s meals taste like shit. indeed, a survey 2012 of more than 35,000 Foxconn employees, 71 percent of them found Foxconn’s food to be poor, while about half of those surveyed thought the canteens serving the food could not be classified as hygienic. Now that they’ve graduated from bad to toxic, the company clearly has some work to do.

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