Apple supplier Foxconn improving working conditions, says FLA report

foxconn workers riot in south western chinaIt was back in February that the Fair Labor Association (FLA), at Apple’s request, began to investigate working conditions at factories in China operated by Foxconn, one of the Cupertino company’s biggest suppliers.

The move came in the wake of a long list of disturbing reports surrounding the treatment of Foxconn employees, with stories about unreasonably long working hours, dangerous working environments where some employees were being exposed to toxic substances, and cramped on-site living conditions. Suicides were reported among the workforce, and worker revolts were not uncommon.

The situation threatened to get out of control for Apple, pushing them to ask the FLA to help with improving conditions for Foxconn employees, of which there are thought to be more than a million in various locations across China.

According to a progress report published this week by the FLA, it seems that, at long last, things are moving in the right direction for those working at Foxconn.

foxconn ipad factory shown in rare behind the scenes video 1

 The report states that the Taiwan-based company has, so far, carried out improvements in 284 areas, with 89 of these completed ahead of schedule. Improvements in an additional 76 areas are set to be carried out over the next 12 months.

 As part of Foxconn’s efforts to address workers’ issues, the company has increased pay, cut working hours, introduced more breaks and improved safety on the factory floor.

 However, according to FLA president Auret van Heerden, the next round of improvements will be the trickiest for Foxconn. These involve getting working hours down to China’s legal limit of 40 hours a week, something which “will inevitably cause uncertainty and anxiety among workers,” van Heerden believes.

 Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz gained exclusive access to a Foxconn factory back in April, giving an interesting insight into life there. Schmitz described the facility, located in the southern Chinese city of Shenzen, as being more like a city, with its on-site fast-food restaurants, banks, cafes, grocery stores, a wedding photo shop and an automated library.


 “After you enter the gates and walk around, you quickly realize that it’s also a city – 240,000 people work here,” he wrote. “Nearly 50,000 of them live on campus in shared dorm rooms.”

 Despite the work being, as Schmitz put it, “tedious and boring,” around 500 people turn up at the gates each day looking for work.

 With Apple’s iPhone 5 and rumored iPad Mini now rolling off the assembly line, it’s a safe bet to assume workers at Foxconn’s factories are currently busier than ever. No doubt the FLA is watching closely.


Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

China to launch the first mission to the far side of the moon

China plans to launch a spacecraft to the far side of the moon this month. The Chang’e-4 spacecraft is scheduled to take off on December 8 carrying a lander and rover, which will touch down on the lunar surface

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Microsoft Outlook for iOS gets big redesign, with Dark Mode coming soon

Microsoft has deployed a huge redesign for its Outlook for iOS app, which includes new blue branding and some quality-of-life improvements. Dark Mode isn't included, but it's coming soon.

The best iPad deals for December 2018

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.

The best Apple Watch deals for December 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.

The best iPhone deals for December 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for December 2018.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 now available on the Apple Store

The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 is now available on the Apple Store for $150. The sensor strip, which is only 2 millimeters thin, automatically tracks a wide array of sleep data when placed under the user's sheets.

Save up to $750 with the best smartphone deals for December 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $750.

5 reasons your Macbook keeps restarting and how to fix the issue

It can be frustrating when your Apple MacBook keeps restarting, but this serious problem can be fixed! We'll go over the common causes for this issue, what you can do to fix them, and why it's okay to take your Mac to a pro!

Pick up a pair of Apple AirPods alternatives for less than $50

Apple AirPods are some of the most sought-after wireless earbuds, but they certainly aren't cheap. Luckily, Walmart and Amazon both have some great Apple AirPod alternatives for sale, and you can still get them before Christmas.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.