Nowadays, it is common practice for businesses of all types to outsource their manufacturing work to the Far East. All kinds of businesses do this in order to take advantage of the labour costs in countries like China which are much cheaper than those of the United States and Europe. Apple is no exception, and works alongside Foxconn which runs a number of large factories in China to produce products like the iPad 2, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.
Recently though, the workforce of over 3000 people went on strike at one of Foxconn’s biggest factories. This was after they were made to carry out additional quality control duties, and made to check for scratches as shallow as 0.2mm on iPhone 5 casings, using only the naked eye. As if this job wasn’t difficult for mundane enough, they were also not given an extra pay to perform these duties. Adding the fact that they were also ordered to work over a week long public holiday, it is easy to see why they decided to go on strike.
A press release from Foxconn has stated that iPhone 5 production was not affected by the strike. Employees quickly returned to work after they were offered three times their normal pay to work over the public holiday, according to a press release from China Labour Watch.
This is not the first time that Foxconn has hit the headlines. Recently, reporters were able to enter the factory and secretly film the working conditions where employees were made to work long hours for low pay, despite the fact that Apple is one of the wealthiest companies in history.
Of course, given the huge demand for the iPhone 5, it is in Apple and Foxconn’s to interests to settle matters like these as quickly as possible. Given the vast resources of Apple, it is unlikely that production of the iPhone 5 will have a completely kind to a halt.