Isn’t  about  time   corporations are held  accountable for who they do  business with?

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The woman who nearly died making your iPad

Tian Yu worked more than 12 hours a day, six days a week. She had to skip meals to do overtime. Then she threw herself from a fourth-floor window

Tian Yu

Tian Yu tried to kill herself in 2010, as did 17 of her Foxconn colleagues. Photograph: University Research Group

At around 8am on 17 March 2010, Tian Yu threw herself from the fourth floor of her factory dormitory in Shenzhen, southern China. For the past month, the teenager had worked on an assembly line churning out parts for Apple iPhones and iPads. At Foxconn’s Longhua facility, that is what the 400,000 employees do: produce the smartphones and tablets that are sold by Samsung or Sony or Dell and end up in British and American homes.

But most famously of all, China’s biggest factory makes gadgets for Apple. Without its No 1 supplier, the Cupertino giant’s current riches would be unimaginable: in 2010, Longhua employees made 137,000 iPhones a day, or around 90 a minute.

That same year, 18 workers – none older than 25 – attempted suicide at Foxconn facilities. Fourteen died. Tian Yu was one of the lucky ones: emerging from a 12-day coma, she was left with fractures to her spine and hips and paralysed from the waist down. She was 17.

When news broke of the suicide spree, reporters battled to piece together what was wrong in Apple’s supply chain. Photos were printed of safety nets strung by the company under dorm windows; interviews with workers revealed just how bad conditions were. Some quibbled over how unusual the Foxconn deaths were, arguing that they were in line with China’s high rate of self-killing. However conscience-soothing that claim was in both Shenzhen and California, it overlooked how those who take their own lives are often elderly or women in villages, rather than youngsters who have just moved to cities to seek their fortunes.

For the three years since, that’s the spot where the debate has been paused. In all the talk of corporate social responsibility and activists’ counter-claims that the producers of iPads and iPhones are still sweating in “labour camp” conditions, you hardly ever hear those who actually work at Foxconn speak at length and in their own terms. People such as Tian Yu.

Yu was interviewed over three years by Jenny Chan and Sacom, a Hong Kong-based group of rights campaigners. From her hospital recuperation in Shenzhen to her return to her family’s village, Chan and her colleagues kept in touch throughout and have published the interviews in the latest issue of an academic journal called New Technology, Work and Employment. The result is a rare and revealing insight into how big electronics companies now rely on what is effectively a human battery-farming system: employing young, poor migrants from the Chinese countryside, cramming them into vast workhouses and crowded dorms, then spitting out the ones who struggle to keep up.

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iDownloadBlog

Foxconn reportedly hiring 90,000 workers to help with iPhone 5S production

By , Jul 30, 2013

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A new report out of Taiwan this morning claims that Foxconn is going on a major hiring spree to help fill orders for Apple’s next generation iPhone, believed to be the iPhone 5S. Production on the handset is said to be ramping up ahead of its fall launch.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Taiwanese publication Focus Taiwan reports that Foxconn is starting to heavily recruit for its Shenzhen plant, and it’s looking to add as many as 90,000 people to its workforce as it begins to fulfill major 5S orders…

Here’s the report:

“Hon Hai Group, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, has started recruiting new workers for its Shenzhen production complex, one of the sites where it assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc., sources in the Apple supply chain said Saturday.

The sources said Hon Hai, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, needs additional staff to deal with large orders from Apple for a new version of the iPhone.”

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