Working conditions at Foxconn are far better than those in other factories elsewhere in China, according to the initial findings of the Fair Labor Association. Reuters reports that the group is beginning its study—announced Monday—of Apple’s top eight suppliers in China, following several recent reports which painted the conditions at the plants in a negative light, as well as a number of documented worker suicides. Auret van Heerden, president of the FLA, spent the past several days visiting Foxconn plants in preparation for the study.
“The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm”, said van Heerden. “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 went on to say that suicides have been a problem at Chinese factories since the 1990s. “You have lot of young people, coming from rural areas, away from families for the first time”, he said. “They’re taken from a rural into an industrial lifestyle, often quite an intense one, and that’s quite a shock to these young workers. And we find that they often need some kind of emotional support, and they can’t get it. Factories initially didn’t realize those workers needed emotional support.”