What happens after you post record profits and then your production facility's documents were hacked because people are starting to learn about the downright awful working conditions of the employees? If you're Apple, you are investigated and audited to make sure these allegations aren't true, even though reports of suicides and other deaths have been coming out of the Foxconn production plant for almost a year now.
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has taken on the task of auditing Foxconn's Apple manufacturing facility this week. Instead of actually going through a process and conduct a complete investigation, however, the head of the organization has already stated that things are probably fine inside the workplace and the injuries are more than likely due to "boredom" and not anything else.
We have all of the details on the absurdity after the break.
FLA's president Aurent van Heerden has said that the problems, like the suicides and other injuries, are because of the monotony.
The problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It's more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.
How could one make those comments yet have not finished an investigation? As you could imagine, some people are raising their hands and questioning these statements that just don't seem to make any sense. Teresa Cheng and her group started a site, FLA Watch, that monitors and questions the relationships the FLA has with the vendors which it audits. She was not too pleased with Van Heerden's comments.
Mr. van Heerden's comments are outrageous and shocking, even to those of us who have been monitoring the FLA's irresponsible reporting for years. Attributing the suicides of sweatshop workers who make iPhones to mere boredom is insulting and the FLA's most creative argument to date for defending its corporate funders.
Labor groups such as SumOfUs.org and China Labor Watch have also not been moved by Apple's decision to bring in FLA to check up on them, as usually FLA will "speak on behalf of the companies, not the workers," we've been told.
The plans for FLA are to send 30 of its association to two different Foxconn facilities and to investigate 35,000 different employees, 30 at a time, who will then fill out a survey on their manufacturing process of the Apple iPad. Sources have told us that the process of in-factory questioning by FLA involves the association specifically asking employees not to mention the worst conditions and abuses.
So, in the end, this entire ordeal has gone from a serious investigation to just another wonderful photo op for Apple appearing to do more good things to better life. The sad part? People may end up buying into this. It's okay though, because Foxconn is said to be giving 16 to 25 percent pay increases to its employees to prove that they value their workforce.
We'll keep you posted on the final conclusions of the investigation. For now, if you want to know what really happens at a Foxconn production facility, check out this further reading by our good friend Avram Piltch, the online editorial director for LAPTOP Magazine.