itwbennett writes: "In an internal investigation, Foxconn said that it found students as young as 14 working as interns at a factory in Yantai, China. The company, which was under fire last month for allegedly forcing vocational school students to work in its factories, said that 'it would work with the local government to check that the vocational schools helping to organize the internships are in compliance with company policies and Chinese labor laws.'"
itwbennett writes: "Foxconn has ambitious plans to deploy a million-robot army on its assembly lines. But while robots already perform some basic tasks, when it comes to the more delicate assembly work, humans still have the edge. George Zhang, senior principal scientist with ABB, a major vendor of industrial robots, thinks Foxconn will eventually replace human workers for much of its electronic assembly, but probably not in time for the iPhone 6. For now, humans are still a cheaper and more practical choice."
itwbennett writes: "From the article: 'It's likely you can't tell where your gadgets were made, or by whom. But the two manufacturing towns provide a stark contrast between the way things used to be made, and the way they are now. The Japanese town of Yaita is a fading, placid community where many factory workers have spent most of their lives, commuting from roomy apartments and cheering the powerhouse high school soccer team on weekends. Zhengzhou is raw, pulsing capitalism, with young recruits pouring in from all over China with suitcases in hand, sleeping four to eight to a dorm room between marathon shifts on the factory floors.'"
itwbennett writes: "However you may feel about Apple or Foxconn or China or workers' rights, this video from American Public Media's Marketplace program offers a glimpse of what it takes to make the iPad and will probably make you think twice about letting your 4-year-old play Angry Birds on yours."
itwbennett writes: "A Microsoft investigation of the worker strike at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan, China has found that the workers weren't threatening to jump from the roof over working conditions, but merely 'staffing assignments and transfer policies' — in other words, workers were upset that they had to choose between taking jobs in other locations versus having no jobs at all. 'Due to regular production adjustments, Foxconn offered the workers the option of being transferred to alternative production lines or resigning and receiving all salary and bonuses due, according to length of service,' Microsoft said in a statement. Well, that makes it all better."
itwbennett writes: "Three workers died in Friday's blast at an assembly plant in Chengdu operated by Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group. And now the question is whether iPad production will be affected — neither Foxconn nor Apple have so far suggested it would be. And analysts are divided. Gartner analyst Amy Teng expects that if there is any disruption it 'will be a very small scale impact because the (Chengdu) factory just started production.' IHS iSuppli is taking the other view, saying that if production at the factory is disrupted until the end of June, it could result in a production loss of about 500,000 units of the iPad 2 in the second quarter."