You know, I was really hoping to not have anything bad to say about Apple or it's ridiculously shite entry into the mobile market this year. After the rumour that the next iPhone OS would finally be getting multitasking (after users had been told for years that they didn't need it so they should stop asking) I thought I'd have no more problems with it and might even be able to write something positive about the device at some point in the future. Still, you know what they say about the best laid plans of men and gods…
Last year I shared this story with you guys. For those of you that are too lazy to click the link (and I know you're out there) it's the story of a guy who lost a prototype iPhone and was put through such physical and emotional abuse by the company that he committed suicide. Apple of course portrayed this as an isolated incident and said they'd be looking into this and improving conditions at the factory. It's almost a year later so let's see how they've done, shall we? Wow, so far there have only been eleven workplace suicides at Foxconn since January. Obviously conditions have been improved immensely eh?
Steve Jobs (who many readers have come to know is actually the living incarnation of Satan) has asserted that Foxconn is not being run like a sweatshop in response to claims that the majority of suicides were due to poor working conditions. A small investigation shows that working conditions have indeed improved and that wages have been increased so that most workers earn the equivalent of £111 ($160 US, $193 AUS, 129 euros, 1236 rand, 7556 rupees) every single month. So yeah, not a sweatshop at all when they're earning all that money for a month's work.
The new wife of a certain Foxconn employee may disagree with that statement however. Yan Li, a 28 year old factory supervisor, married his sweetheart in February and they moved into a rental house in Shenzhen. On May 24th he started work at 7am and didn't finish until 5pm the following day. The day following this thirty-four hour shift, Yan worked for a further fourteen hours (a short shift according to his wife and colleagues) then returned home and complained about shortness of breathe before collapsing from exhaustion. He died shortly afterwards.