A just-issued China Labor Watch report claims that thousands of workers at Foxconn, Apple’s contract manufacturer, went on strike following heightened quality control demands for the iPhone 5. The new standards apparently limit dents in the aluminum body to 0.02mm or less, and relate to “scratches on frames and back covers.”
Some early purchasers of the iPhone 5 noted the presence of scratches and/or dents on the aluminum bodies of newly-opened devices, as discussed in iLounge’s comprehensive review of the device, and although Apple’s marketing chief dismissed them as “normal,” the company apparently quietly attempted to improve the quality control standards to guarantee that such marks would not be visible to customers.
According to the report, Foxconn’s workers were unable to “turn out iPhones that met the standard,” claiming that the new guidelines were too difficult to meet without proper training, and suggesting that the iPhone’s design is flawed. Fights between workers broke out, leading to injuries, property damage, and additional physical threats, which were allegedly ignored by Foxconn management, subsequently leading to a work stoppage. China Labor Watch blames Foxconn pressure on the workers, including limits on vacation time during Chinese holidays, for contributing to the issues. [via AppleInsider]
Update: Foxconn denied that a strike or workplace stoppage had taken place, conceding that two fights had broken out but claiming that they were quickly addressed by management. The company also said that workers had been paid three times their normal wages for labor over the Chinese holiday break, which they had undertaken voluntarily. Regardless, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported that quality inspectors had indeed briefly halted their efforts after a workplace clash at Foxconn.