[Statement] Strike erupted over dire working conditions at Foxconn
Hong Kong, 11 January 2013
On 10 January, a strike erupted at Foxconn in Fengcheng, Jiangxi Province to demand wage increase and dignity. On the following day, over 1000 workers took to the street and block the main road. The riot police quickly intervened and suppressed the workers. According to SACOM first hand information, alongside media source in China, there is a strong presence of the riot police and water cannon and physical violence are used to suppress the strikers. Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) condemn the crackdown on workers strike and demand Foxconn and Apple enter into dialogue with workers to address their grievances. The establishment of a democratic union at Foxconn should not be delayed!
Apple and Foxconn are willing to lavish money on PR stunt but reluctant to carry out structural reform in the labour practices. Regardless the media campaign of Apple and Foxconn which trumpets the decent working conditions in the factories, sweatshop-like conditions remain. In addition, there is no genuine worker representative system at Foxconn to respond to the workers’ sentiment. As such, a strike was sparked off on Thursday night.
The monthly basic salary of Foxconn workers is at CNY 1300 (USD 209). Workers cannot support themselves and their dependent from the basic salary. After the deduction for food and dormitory, the disposable income for workers is meagre. Apart from the low wages, workers are not respected on the production line. The soldering workers can only receive a surgical mask every two days. Sometimes, if the shop floor runs out of masks, workers can only get a new mask per week. In the winter, the temperature in Fengcheng is as low as 3 degree celsius. Hot drinking water in the dormitory is limited. Furthermore, there was no access to hot water in the bathroom. As such, workers would only take a shower once for a week. Only a few days ago, workers can eventually access to hot water in the bathroom. The strike for decent working and living conditions is necessary and legitimate.
In support of the courageous strikers, SACOM demand Apple and Foxconn:
1. Provide a living wage for workers
2. Enter into dialogue with workers on working and living conditions in the factory;
3. Ensure no retaliation on workers who participated in the strike; and
4. Reform the existing unions in the factory by democratic elections.
SACOM further call on consumers from all over the world keep up pressure on Apple until real and significant changes in working conditions have been observed at Apple suppliers.