By James Griffiths
At 10.00am PT on Wednesday (1.00am on Thursday in China), the world will go into paroxysms of consumerist glee over the launch of the much-anticipated iPhone 5. In preparation for this event, a Shanghai Evening Post undercover reporter posed as a new worker to gain access to a Foxconn plant in Tai Yuan and see the making of the new Jesus Phone first-hand.
The reporter spent 7-days undergoing training and 3-days working on the Foxconn factory floor before the gruelling conditions became too much for him. Translation by MIC Gadget.
The first night sleeping at Foxconn dormitory is a nightmare. The whole dormitory smells like garbage when I walked in. It’s a mixed of overnight garbage smell plus dirty sweat and foam smell. Outside every room was fully piled up with uncleared trash. When I opened my wardrobe, lots of cockroaches crawl out from inside and the bedsheets that are being distributed to every new workers are full of dirts and ashes.
Foxconn may want to revise their employee confidentiality agreements:
We were asked to sign the employment contract right in the canteen after the breakfast. The contract has highly emphasized on 4 confidential areas that need to be kept strictly confidential, 1: All technical information, 2: Sales figures, 3: Human resource, 4: Production statistics.
The factory seems to be adopting a Confucian training scheme:
[We were told:]“When you leave the lab, there’s no advanced technology, you only need to obey instructions.” We are being distributed with a checklist with only 13 rewards policies but over 70 penalties policies. The instructor said: “You might feel uncomfortable of how we treat you, but this is all for your own good.”
iPhone 5 production:
We have reached the entrance of the production floor with a warning sign that says: “TOP SECURITY AREA”. We are told that if anyone enter or exit the metal detector door and found carrying any metallic stuff on your body such as belt buckle, ear rings, cameras, handset, mp3 players, the alarm will sound and you will be fired on the spot. One of my room mate told me that his friend has been fired because he carried an USB charging cable. When I walked into the production floor after passing through the metal detector door, I heard loud sounds of machinery engines and a very dense of plastic smell. 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”
By my own calculations, I have to mark five iPhone plates every minute, at least. For every 10 hours, I have to accomplish 3,000 iPhone 5 back plates. There are total 4 production lines in charge of this process, 12 workers in every line. Each line can produce 36,000 iPhone 5 back plates in half a day, this is scary … I finally stopped working at 7 a.m. We were asked to gather again after work. The supervisor shout out loud in front of us: “Who wants to rest early at 5 a.m !? We are all here to earn money ! Let’s work harder !” I was thinking who on earth wants to work two extra hours overtime for only mere 27 yuan (USD$4) !?