What’s going on here? It sounds like Apple is deliberately throwing them under the bus. I wonder why?

Anyone who has ever been to Asia knows that working conditions there would be considered criminal by Western standards. This recent report done by apple describing it as a sweatshop really surprises me. Why would they do this? We all know that life for a chinese laborer is pretty terrible, compared to a sweet union job in the US. We also know that their alterantive of subsistence farming is even worse. It hasn’t bothered us for decades. What’s their motivation? Renegotiation of a contract? Are they about to ditch them? I can’t believe this is just about shielding themselves from criticism. Their relationship with Foxconn is certainly worth more to them than a little bit of bad criticism from some leftist labor groups.

I believe it’s just a PR exercise. Apple might even be able to get away with charging more for their products if they come up with some new (fake) “we use fair labor” theme.

PR for sure…it makes them look responsible…

Why not? Apple is nothing but a brand. The products are not special. They have to protect the brand from any form of criticism. I think it’s completely reasonable to expect them to throw anyone under the bus to do so. They can find other suppliers or force Foxconn to clean up (thereby enhancing the Apple image – I can just see the puff pieces of journalism now).

I have a hard time imagining that this is just a piece of PR. They really stuck the knife into Foxconn here.

What outcome are we to expect from this?

This kind of action, from my experience, would permanently sour the relationship between the two companies. They’ll never trust one another again.

Overblown. Both Apple and Foxconn have known for a long time of public pressure in the states for “fair” working conditions. Apple joined the FLA. Foxconn allowed them to interview thousands of employees and tour facilities. They now have an action list they can trot in front of the media to show the things they are working on and doing to improve.

If anything this allows both of them to claim that they are working together to improve conditions. Foxconn needs Apple as much as Apple needs Foxconn. This could actually serve to harm the other companies that use Foxconn for production more than Apple - those same companies that are siliently complicit in their use of the “unfair” labour.

As to increasing prices, labour costs are small relative to the component costs of Apple products. Any increase that the consumer will see will be incremental at worst.

You reckon Apple and Foxconn planned this together?

Or at least gave them a heads up?

I wouldn’t say planned in that Apple’s joining FLA and the subsequent inspections were a coordinated effort and timed by Apple and Foxconn management.

However, if your #1 supplier of labour is under the gun for labour violations and conversely your #1 customer is in the spotlight for perceived injustices at your plant, do you just burn bridges and go your separate ways? Hardly. I think they had conversations something like Apple saying “you know, we’re taking some heat over here regarding your labour practices and this is what we think will smooth things over. What do you think?”

To me, this whole FLA and subsequent labour improvements (token or otherwise) was a logical next step that Apple encouranged and Foxconn agreed to prior to FLA’s report. So, wait, I guess I’m saying it was planned in a way. :stuck_out_tongue: