Week 9

8 Apr

During this week’s lectures we discussed Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR as its better known. One really Interesting topic that came up was the working conditions at Foxconn factories in China.

Foxconn is the largest maker of electronic components and the greatest exporter in Greater China. I found it hard to believe that a company as large and Global as Foxconn could be treating some of its employees as bad as they were. In fact, Apple has taken a lot of the bad press and PR because of Foxconn. Many call on Apple to boycott Foxconn’s goods as they are Apple’s biggest suppliers. Apple has reacted as well, hiring the Fair Labour Association to audit working conditions at Foxconn in 2012. However, in my opinion, the press and public should hold Foxconn accountable for its own conditions and not offload the blame to Apple.

Foxconn have, under CSR, a responsibility to their employees. Until know, employees have worked under terrible conditions. Last year there were 14 suicides at Foxconn. To prevent the suicides, Foxconn instead of improving working conditions they installed suicide prevention netting at many factories. I also read that a study by 20 Chinese universities has described Foxconn factories as labour camps. Widespread abuse of employees has also been reported. In fact, Foxconn forced its employees to sign a legally binding contract guaranteeing that family of employees would not sue Foxconn as a result of unexpected death, self-injury or suicide.

The following link shows the working conditions at Foxconn.

However, Foxconn is not the only company in China undermining worker’s rights. In fact the suicide rate at Foxconn factories is actually below the national average and there standards in many Chinese companies are far worse than Foxconn. 36% of the Chinese population live under $2 a day. We’ve all heard of the sweatshops that exist all across China where the working conditions are amongst the worst in the world. Nike, the world’s biggest sneaker and Sportswear Company has many sweatshops throughout China. I believe the Chinese government has a responsibility to it’s citizens when it comes to employment. Large Global companies are getting away with mistreating their employees all across China. Many will say that these companies have a responsibility to their employees but I believe it all starts with the National government, then when the necessary laws are in place and enforced will these companies begin to treat their workers better and fairer.




Foxconn has made promises to greatly increase working conditions in its Chinese factories and this may begin to change, maybe in a very small way, working conditions in all the other factories across China. It’s ironic to think that Foxconn, the company loathed over its treatment of Chinese workers, may actually set the ball rolling in terms of change in factories across China.

How these changes can be achieved are explained in the following articles.




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