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Apple’s annual supplier report – which monitors nearly 400 suppliers – found that children were employed at 11 factories involved in making its products.
Apple Computer makes all of the “iDevices” many of us use daily, but very few people know of the unjust ways they are being made. Child slave labor is being used by the corporations that manufacture the parts that Apple uses to make iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macs. The company does try to terminate business with suppliers who are discovered and publicly exposed for using child slave labor, however they do not go out of there way to investigate if their suppliers are participating in this illicit and unethical act. Additionally, the use of children and the poor working conditions is indirectly a result of Apple’s effort to minimize costs and maximize profits. Though some are found, we don’t know how many children slaves are not discovered and continue to work long hours for little to no pay at the expense of their childhood and their education. Because of Apple’s lack of supplier investigation, their relentless effort to maximize profits, and their employment of companies like Foxconn and Jabil, many people, including children are subject to extremely difficult lives starting at such a young age.
Apple is a company that has been known to terminate business with suppliers who are found to be using child labor. However, the use of children and the poor conditions for all of their workers is indirectly caused by Apple’s drive to maximize profits.
Another alarming confirmation is that Apple is engaging in business tactics similar to that of Walmart, where the company puts the squeeze on suppliers to deliver products to them as cheaply as possible.
Any business wants to maximize profits, but Apple takes it to the extreme. In an effort to minimize the cost of manufacturing, Apple tries to find the cheapest possible way to get its parts, while ignoring its responsibility to do so with moral business practices. Many corporations are in the market to supply parts to Apple and so the price is driven lower by competition. As a result, the suppliers make a slim profit, and this is passed down to the wages and working conditions of the workers. Children are cheap, energetic, and easy to teach repetitive tasks, which makes them a prime target for this cruelty.
Apple’s biggest parts supplier, Foxconn, is notorious for their terrible working conditions. In 2012, it was reported that 56 children as young as 14 were working in their factories, however Foxconn denies it, claiming that they were interns. Many of the cruelties that came upon these children, as well as the adult workers at Foxconn were publicized in the media.
Controversy has been stirring around the major electronics supplier since a series of suicides on their plants across China in 2010, which human rights activists blamed on tough working conditions.
In addition to these horrific suicides, in 2011 an explosion in a Foxconn factory killed two workers and injured 16 others. Some other events that have been caused by these terrible conditions include:
July 2009: A Foxconn worker fell from apartment building after reportedly losing an iPhone prototype. 18 more workers were linked to attempted suicides in 2010 and over the next two years.
2010: 137 workers were injured by poisonous chemical, n-hexane, used to clean iPhone screens at Suzhou facility, owned by Apple suppliers Wintek.
May 2011: Four workers died and 18 injured in dust explosion at Foxconn factory that produces iPad parts in Chengdu, China.
December 2011: 61 workers were injured in a gas explosion in Shanghai, China at Riteng Computer Accessory Co factory that makes iPad 2 back panels.
September 2012: A fight involving up to 2,000 workers forced Foxconn to close a plant in Shanxi province in northern China.
Circumstances like those described above would be incredibly difficult for any human being. One can only imagine how a child works under such circumstances.
With the introduction of the iPhone 5C, Apple’s low-cost phone, Apple is trying to reduce the manufacturing costs even more. As before, this cost reduction is achieved through low wages, poor conditions, longs hours, and lack of safety for the factory workers.
The new cheaper iPhone that Apple will unveil to a global audience on Tuesday is being produced under illegal and abusive conditions in Chinese factories owned by one of America’s largest manufacturing businesses, investigators have claimed.
Jabil, a US company, owns the plants in China where the cases for the iPhone 5C’s are made. In addition to similar working conditions to those at Foxconn, Jabil’s injustices extend to the living conditions of it’s employees.
The Jabil factory arranges accommodation for workers in dormitory blocks where some sleep eight to a room, suffering disturbed rest because the rooms are shared by a mixture of day- and night-shift staff.
Though cruel and inhumane, no instances of child labor have been found at the Jabil’s factories. Regardless, no human being should have to live in such a terrible way.
One can only begin to imagine how difficult life would be if one was forced to work and live like the people previously described. The unfortunate reality is that it is happening, right now, to adults and even worse, children. Apple is a greedy company whose only goal is to maximize profits. As a result, the minimization of production costs creates terrible conditions for factory workers. Additionally, greed motivates Foxconn and Jabil to allow these injustices to happen. One can do their part by having nothing to do with this company, and boycotting all Apple products. One could also research the companies they buy products from to make sure that no child slave labor was used in the manufacturing process.