USA Today is reporting (via CNN) that workers at Foxconn’s plant in Zhenghou, China went on strike because of demands placed on them to produce the iPhone5.
8:01PM EST October 5. 2012 – Thousands of factory workers at a plant in China went on strike Friday to protest their working conditions on the iPhone 5’s production lines, CNN reports.
Employees at Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, China, made the decision after management enacted "overly strict demands" for production of Apple’s new iPhone 5.
The strike began at 1 p.m. local time on Friday with the majority of its participants from the on-site quality control line for the iPhone.The work stoppage has "paralyzed the production lines," CNN reports.
Neither Foxconn nor Apple responded to requests for comment by the news agency.
"Employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard" because of "design defects," according to China Labor Watch, a New York-based advocacy group that works closely with sources in China.
Foxconn’s demands, coupled with the fact that workers were not allowed to take vacation time during a recent week-long holiday, created a high-pressure situation, CNN reports
That’s a bold move for factory workers in a Country where finding a steady job is not the easiest thing to do. Having worked in the Contract Packaging industry for 30 years with hundreds of minimum wage (but mostly very good) workers every day, and pressure from Fortune 500 companies to deliver on time to satisfy the likes of Walmart, I have a good idea of how this went down.
Management: We have to increase productivity. Apple is pressing us to ship more units.
Quality Manger: But boss, the assembly line is pushing out crap, with nicks and scratches, and a whole mess of other stuff.
Management: Let me loop at one of those iPhone5s. See, if you just wipe it like this, it doesn’t look so bad. Just put it in the box.
Quality manager: But boss, at the meeting last week the Apple guy said that every unit had to be perfect, no exceptions.
Management: I don’t give a damn what he said. He’s not here now. Just put the stuff in the box.
Management: Apple just told us they are backcharging for the first 5 million phone we shipped, because a good percentage had defects and they are getting bad press.
Quality Manager: But boss, you told us to pack them, even though they didn’t look right.
Management: I never said that. Oh, and your FIRED! Hey Plant Supervisor, tell all the workers that no one can take any time off next week for the National Holiday, and everyone is going to work for FREE to fix all the mistakes they made. And, everyone on the Quality Line will get a 50% cut in pay for the next 3 months to help pay for the fine from Apple. Not get out there any light a fire under everyone’s butt. We need to produce 250K phone a day. No exceptions.
Plant Manager: But boss, we are still getting bad parts and the most we have ever been able to do is 150K units a day. We don’t have enough workers to do that.
Management: Are you deaf. Make the parts work, get all the workers to work harder, and make sure every single unit is “perfect” or I will fire you next.
Plant Manager: Yes, boss.
(Photo: Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY)