The Lighter Side of Foxconn

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We know all about the doom and gloom over at Foxconn, but during Nightline's trip to the iFactory on ABC last night, we learn about some of the perks of working at the industrial campus. The tour still doesn't make us envious of Chinese factory life, which involves long hours, dorm-living, and low pay. Our ideal workplace also wouldn't need suicide nets. But, like the F.L.A. president Auret van Heerden said during his guided, pre-audit, tour "[Foxconn’s] facilities are first-class ... Foxconn is really not a sweatshop." That seems to be true—at least not in front of the cameras.  

When not working 12 hour shifts or sleeping, employees can enjoy the Foxconn campus' various perks, including a soccer field, to add some physical activity to an otherwise docile day. 

Or, for the indoor kids, there's an Internet cafe

And, for those looking to exercise their minds, post mind-numbing iPad screwing shifts, Foxconn also offers English classes

Even while working, Foxconners catch some breaks. During the two one-hour long meal breaks, the company allows sanctioned naps. "[It's] not exhaustion but a Chinese post meal tradition," Foxconn executive Louis Woo assured Nightline

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And on a micro-level, Foxconn allows workers to sport whatever hairstyles they want beneath their uniforms. "Their haircuts prove that teen style lives everywhere," explains Nightline's Bill Weir. As any cube worker knows, little things like clothing and style choices can make a cog feel less robotic. 

Perhaps the fun balances out the monotonous, low-paid? While assembling iPhones, the workers looked up from their boring tasks at Weir and his crew as they walked through -- a sign of happiness, claims van Heerden.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.