A Chinese Foxconn iPhone 5 component factory has 'exploded' into rioting, as 2,000 people reportedly revolt against harsh working conditions. The huge Taiyuan facility makes the alloy casing for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new shiny, amongst other products.
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers ponder the latest poor publicity for Cupertino's BYOD-darling.
By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
Richard Lai is watching the Chinese reportage:
News just came in that workers at Foxconn's Taiyuan plant have started a riot...police forces are on site...much damage has been done in the process. ...unofficial reports claiming the "2,000-people" riot was triggered by security guards hitting a worker.
...An undercover report...mentioned that the Taiyuan plant processed the back casing of the iPhone 5 [and] the company's harsh management. ... We don't doubt that [it] escalated due to dissatisfaction over working conditions. ...some of the photos [are] already being censored. MORE
David Barboza and Keith Bradsher soberly report:
The company said several people were hospitalized and detained by the police after the disturbance...escalated into a riot. ... The Foxconn plant...in central China, employs about 79,000 workers.
...The disturbance is the latest to hit Foxconn, a key supplier of products to Apple and other global electronics companies. ... [It] has been struggling to improve labor conditions...following reports about labor abuse and work safety violations. MORE
An anonymous French agency scribbler noted this bit of background:
The company has come under the spotlight after suicides and labour unrest at its Chinese plants.
...In 2010, at least 13 Foxconn employees in China died in apparent suicides, which activists blamed on tough working conditions, prompting calls for better treatment of staff.. MORE
But Mel Gross criticizes the reporting with a sarcastic smirk:
Ah, I see that it was thought necessary to mention that Foxconn was Apple's manufacturer (even though Apple has several). But when mentioning that workers threatened to jump off the roof, it wasn't thought necessary to mention that it was a factory making Microsoft XBoxes?
...How clever. MORE
Meanwhile, Anthony Wing Kosner anticipates that very question:
It is not Apple-...or China-bashing, to suggest that significant labor unrest in China would be a big issue for Apple. ... This is only one incident...but Apple-watchers certainly have their antennae up for [a] pattern.
...It would be a purely circumstantial conjecture to say that the unprecedented ramp-up of production for the iPhone 5 is responsible. ... It could be, but the Taiyuan factory is large and makes many things...so what we know now is that these two things are adjacent...not that there is any causal connection. ... [But] reports of increased pressure and coercion of workers in connection to [iPhone 5] and some reports of...defects in the shipped products last week, are not good signs for Apple.
...[Foxconn’s] story and the workers’ may well be different. ... I want to see somebody get to the workers for comment. MORE