Breaking News

Apple investigates Indian iPhone plant after workers' strike over mass food poisoning

Apple investigates Indian iPhone plant after workers' strike over mass food poisoning

Apple is sending independent auditors to investigate an iPhone assembly facility in India after poor working and living conditions at the plant prompted employees to go on strike.

In South India, the facility is operated by longtime Apple partner Foxconn. A Reuters investigation found that women working at the plant were working in extremely difficult conditions, forced to sleep on floors in overcrowded dorms and shared toilets with no running water. Recently, an outbreak of food poisoning hospitalized 150 people, causing workers to strike on 18 December and close the plant.

In response, Apple says it has put the plant on "probation" (though the company hasn't said what this means for Foxconn or the workers assembling its iPhones). The plant employs approximately 17,000 people, and is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of Chennai.

An Apple spokesperson told BBC News: "Following recent concerns about food safety and housing conditions at Foxconn Sriperumbudur, we sent independent auditors. We found that some remote hostels and meals may be used for staff. Rooms do not meet our requirements, and we are working with the supplier to ensure that a comprehensive set of corrective actions are implemented expeditiously.

Foxconn apologized for the poor conditions, and, as reported by the state government of Tamil Nadu, has agreed to upgrade its facilities – expanding living spaces, improving bathrooms, and providing drinking water. To do The company says that it will soon resume work at the plant.

The news shows the difficulties Apple is facing as it shifts production of its gadgets out of China. According to reports in recent years, the iPhone maker has urged suppliers such as Taiwan-based Foxconn to shift production to other countries such as India and Vietnam. It comes as Apple faces criticism at home for outsourcing manufacturing jobs, and pressure in China to heed to Communist Party demands regarding censorship and data access. Shifting production out of China gives other parties less leverage over Apple.

Apple has been repeatedly criticized for the labor conditions involved in manufacturing its highly profitable devices. Foxconn's plants in particular have come under scrutiny for their sweatshop condition and workers' suicides.

No comments