With the Fair Labor Association audit of Apple suppliers at Foxconn City underway for several days now, the first details are starting to trickle in. The non-profit agency’s head Auret van Heerden told Reuters that working conditions at Foxconn’s iPad plant are “far better” than those at their factories elsewhere in the country. It is a personal impression and not the official stance, because 30 FLA staff members have three weeks to interview about 35,000 workers at two Foxconn plants in China.
Workers will answer questions anonymously by entering their responses with iPads. Van Heerden was also surprised, he confessed, with how “tranquil” the floor at Foxconn plant is compared with a garment factory.
I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. So 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.
He speculated that workers are jumping out of windows to take their life due to boredom and alienation stemming from repetitive assembly tasks: