After spending just 10 days working inside a Foxconn factory putting metal backs on iPhone 5s, an undercover reporter for the Shanghai Evening Post (translated by Micgadget) confirms both the monotony and physical taxation of the job. Compared to other dispatches we have heard from within, the undercover reporter sounds like he had it easy, only working 7 straight hours -- instead of the 12 hour shifts others have mentioned. Yet, even that sounds, at the very least, unpleasant if not bordering on abusive.
After a supervisor told the workers they "should be honored having the chance to produce it," our undercover worker gets to his job for the next seven hours: Marking placement points on the backplate with an oil-based pen. "I’m being scolded many times for spilling too much oil on the markings," he writes. He has to pick-up the plate and make the four markings every 3 seconds. "After such repeat action for several hours, I have terrible neckache and muscle pain on my arm," he explains. Another worker gets put in what sounds like a 10 minute timeout after lying down from exhaustion. At the end, he calculates he went through five phones a minute, 3,000 phones in 10 hours. "We worked non-stop from midnight to the next morning 6 a.m but were still asked to keep on working as the production line is based on running belt and no one is allowed to stop. I’m so starving and fully exhausted," he wrote.
As MicGadget's Cyril Chang notes, "there is no guarantee of the report’s authenticity, but we still feel that all Apple fanboys should appreciate the hard work from the Chinese workers." We have heard similar stories from other sources, such as Marketplace's Rob Schmitz, who talked with workers that mentioned similar working conditions. True or not, what better day to appreciate the hard (and boring) labor that went into making Apple's toys than today, when Apple will announce the very gadget our undercover laborer worked to make.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.