On Tuesday, ABC News aired an exclusive look inside electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese company embroiled in controversy over the low wages and stressful working conditions of its employees. As many as 14 Foxconn employees committed suicide in 2010 by jumping from buildings, and at least four more employees followed suit in 2011.
Foxconn, headquartered in Techung, New Taipei, manufactures products for the world’s largest electronics companies, producing household gadgets such as the iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Playstation 2, Wii and Xbox 360.
Apple recently hired the Fair Labor Association to audit Foxconn, along with its other suppliers, and asked that the results of the audit be made public. ABC correspondent Bill Weir toured a Foxconn facility in Shenzen, China and interviewed workers and management.
Weir’s report included an interview with one employee who saw her first finished iPad when he showed her his own device. Her request to people who use the product was to “please use it with care.”
Although the company has stressful working conditions, thousands of people wait outside of the factory in the hopes that they will be hired. Many travel for miles, often leaving their families for weeks at time in order to work at the facility. But conditions inside are so demoralizing for some workers that the company has hung giant nets outside the buildings to solve what it called a “suicide problem” among its employees.
Weir’s report also showed that workers were less disgruntled by the working conditions than about their low pay. Foxconn employees work on average 60 hours a week for $2 an hour. A raise for workers at Foxconn took effect on Feb. 1. PC World reported that the workers’ wages will be increased again by as much as 25 percent.
Apple Insider reported Wednesday that Foxconn employees alleged the company hid underage workers before the Fair Labor Association inspection.