In case you haven’t heard, news about Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 release has been leaked. New features include wireless charging, curved glass, dual-lens cameras and a hefty $999 price tag — and that’s just the first tier! The initial figures state the 64GB phone will be sold at $999, the 256GB phone sold at $1099, and the phone with the most storage at 512GB will be sold at $1199. However, it must be clarified that these are just approximate figures — they won’t be confirmed until the official release. Regardless of the actual numbers, the prices of this generation of iPhones are expected to rise, and it begs the question of whether Apple’s hard workers are going to see a pay rise — and no, I don’t mean your local Genius Bar employees. I mean those working 12-hour shifts to ensure your phone has all the fancy buttons and curved glass you could possibly desire.
It’s been widely documented that Apple has a dirty not-so-secret secret just across the Pacific from their California headquarters. Four tech titans have factories littering China’s major cities, with one company, Foxconn, employing 1,000,000 people across their 12 branches as of 2013. But this is Apple, right? These people probably get good paychecks and live in swish apartments? Think again. The biggest tech company in the world thanks its workers through strict working regimes, verbal abuse, and cramped living conditions, according to Hong-Kong watchdog Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour. These living conditions are said to house 12 people per dorm, sometimes up to 14, with 200 people per floor and only one bathroom between them — and you think your college dorm is small. China Labor Watch, a New York based nonprofit, alleges that “mold grows pervasively along the walls and bed bugs have spread throughout the dorm, leaving workers with sore, red bites.” What’s worse is that employees had to pay for such luxury, costing the equivalent of approx. $21 dollars a month deducted straight out of their paychecks.
This isn’t the first time Apple has been called out on its gross living conditions. In 2010, reports emerged of worker suicides, people literally throwing themselves out of the factory because they couldn’t bear to live there, but they also couldn’t live without the income. Apple pledged to improve their factories and make life easier for their workers, but of course, that never happened. Rather than reducing their mandatory overtime hours and making dorms inhabitable, they added suicide nets so that their beloved workers could continue earning them money — and Steve Jobs said to the press, “For a factory, it’s pretty nice. And disregarded the suicides because they didn’t match the U.S. statistics. In December 2014, the BBC carried out an undercover investigation into the standards at the Pegatron factory in Shanghai and found that all workers rights were being breached. One worker had to work 18 days straight despite constant requests for a day off.
“Our culture is to leave the world better than we found it.” says CEO Tim Cook, but only for the people that buy his products, screw the rest, right?
Apple may be the greatest tech company in the world, but what they have in money, they lack in morals.
Image: Jonathan Wong