After the people Apple hired to clear its name wrote up a gloomy report of Foxconn working conditions, the manufacturer vowed to reform. First up: shorter, legal working days. But now these overworked workers want to keep overworking. What?
Foxconn says it's going to bring its employees under the dictates of Chinese law, which max out at 60 hours per week (still a lot!) and 36 hours of monthly overtime:
Foxconn's concessions, including cutting overtime for its 1.2 million mainland Chinese workers while promising compensation that protects them against losing income, were backed by Apple.
So workers will be spared some of the spirit-killing iPad drudgery, and Foxconn will obey its country's labour law. But according to Reuters these same workers are fine with being exploited:
Many workers seemed unconvinced that their pay wouldn't be cut along with their hours. For some Chinese factory workers -- who make much of their income from long hours of overtime -- the idea of less work for the same pay could take getting used to.
"We are worried we will have less money to spend. Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money," said Wu, a 23-year-old employee from Hunan province in south China.
A couple possibilities:
- These quotes are either the product of Foxconn fabrication or worker coercion.
- These workers are so underpaid that the only way they actually can get by is through gruelling, illegal overtime.
- The labourers, 99 per cent of which are migrants from brutally poor Chinese villages, would rather spend every waking moment blowing dust off of iPad screens than go back to what they were doing before -- the old bad is better than awful rationale.