An undercover reporter lasted only three days working on Foxconn’s iPhone 5 production line, working 12-hour night shifts and sleeping in a reeking, bug-infested dorm, before quitting to publish his account.
The report in the Shanghai Evening Post, translated into English by MIC Gadget, recounts the reporter’s 10-day ordeal posing as a new worker at a Foxconn factory in Tai Yuan, Shanxi province in Northern China.
After seven days of training and orientation — with instructors telling the new workers thinks like, “You might feel uncomfortable of how we treat you, but this is all for your own good,” and “All you need to do is obey” — the reporter was put to work prepping back plates for the coveted iPhone 5:
Our supervisor warned us: “Once you sit down, you only do what you are told”. The supervisor finally present us the back of the iPhone 5 and shows it to all of us and said: “This is the new unleashed iPhone 5 back plate, you should be honored having the chance to produce it”
The reporter was tasked with marking connection points on the back plate, and estimated that he had about 12 seconds to work on each piece, processing 300 every hour, working seven hours straight without a break.
The Sept. 11 report was apparently timed to cast a cloud over Apple’s iPhone 5 launch the next day. Other Chinese news outlets also recently published reports that Foxconn was relying on student “interns” bussed in from nearby universities to staff production lines to meet pre-launch demand for the newest iPhone.
TheNextWeb published a statement from Foxconn responding to the undercover report that reads in part:
“Foxconn is not perfect, but we are making progress everyday and we continue to lead our industry in meeting the needs of the new generation of workers in China. Anything, such as the report in question, that indicates that the high standards set by our company are not being followed is immediately investigated and addressed.”