Lots has been written about Taiwan owned Foxconn plant which manufactures the Mac mini, the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone for Apple. There has been a fair bit of controversy and outrage over workers committing suicide, or threatening to, in protest over working conditions at its plant in China.
Foxconn has been in damage control mode and last year demanded its employees sign a no-suicide pact but still the trouble continues with workers there working a grueling 80 to 100 hours of overtime, on top of the 174 regular work hours, and often bullied into moving directly from regular work into overtime hours without a break, and punished if they don't.
Now we have reports that Foxconn chairman Terry Gou has likened his workers to animals. ""Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache," he said. Hoi Han is the parent company of Foxconn.
The company has since been forced to clarify his comments and has put out a statement saying he was misunderstood, even saying his comments in Mandarin were taken out of context.
Still, it coincides with further revelations about working conditions at Foxconn. There are claims of gun-toting guards at the factory gate, that kids as young as 12 are working there, that workers are forced to sleep in crowded dormitories and that many workers have had their hands damaged from doing the repetitive tasks over hundreds of hours, week in and week out.
Maybe the chairman has a point, Foxconn workers are treated like animals.